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Five Apparent Sikhs Arrested After International Investigation

May 31, 1986

OTTAWA (AP) _ An investigation by the FBI and Canadian security agencies led to the arrest on conspiracy charges Friday of five men, apparently members of the Sikh religion, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police said Friday.

The five were arrested after a series of searches in the Montreal area and were to appear in court there Saturday to face charges of ″conspiracy to commit an indictable offense,″ said police Supt. John Bentham in Ottawa.

Bentham did say that the arrests were not associated with an explosion on an Air-India jet off the coast of Ireland last year after it took off from Montreal.

But he would not give any specifics, other than to say that the charges fell under a section of the Criminal Code that deals with conspiracy ″to commit murder or to cause another person to be murdered, whether in Canada or not. . . .″ Conviction carries a prison term of 14 years.

He said the Mounties were ″assisted throughout this investigation by the Quebec provincial police and the Federal Bureau of Investigation - the FBI. Contributing to the investigation also was the Canadian Security Intelligence Service and the Montreal Urban Community police.″

The five arrested men were identified as Gurcharan Singh Banwait of the Montreal suburb of LaSalle, Chattar Singh Saini of suburban Chomedey, Santokh Singh Khela of Montreal, Kashmir Singh Dhillon of LaSalle, and Ravinder Singh Anand of Montreal.

The use of Singh as a middle name usually indicates membership in the Indian religious sect of Sikhism. When asked whether those arrested were Sikhs, Bentham said only: ″That’s a conclusion you’ll have to reach yourself.″

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