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Contract Killings


Monday, 31 March 2008

RK Sharma, was sentenced to life imprisonment

RK Sharma, was this week sentenced to life in jail by a Delhi court for the murder of journalist Shivani Bhatnagar in 1999.Sharma and three others — Pradeep Sharma, Sri Bhagwan and Satya Prakash — were convicted of murder and criminal conspiracy on March 18. Two other accused were acquitted for want of evidence.Bhatnagar, an Indian Express journalist, was found strangled in her flat in the Indian capital.
The court said there was strong circumstantial evidence, including phone records, that indicated Sharma conspired with the other three to murder Bhatnagar.
The prosecution said Sharma, who was romantically involved with Bhatnagar, hatched the murder plot after the journalist threatened to spill the beans about their relationship.Sharma was a senior police officer in northern Haryana. He absconded after Bhatnagar’s death but gave himself up to the police in 2002.His attorney said he would be lodging an appeal with the Supreme Court.

Hong Kong one-woman brothel Killer

Young women sex workers in Hong Kong are living in terror even after the police arrested a “strongly-built” man of Pakistani-origin suspected in the murder of three of their four colleagues.The sex workers also held a protest seeking protection from their clients.
The copycat murders of the sex workers, all of whom ran individual ‘one-woman brothels’ that are legal in Hong Kong, over three days in one week caused panic among them. And the police visited each of the over 2,000 such one-woman brothels to check if any other sex worker had been killed.The police also sought information about their clients so that the murders could be worked out. The fear among the prostitutes is not because this man has been arrested for the suspected murder of three of them but because the police say he is not a suspect in the killing of the fourth sex worker in a commercial district.“We are happy to know that the man has been arrested. But he is only a suspect in the first three cases. That means that a killer is still out there. Sex workers are still terrified,” said Elaine Lam Yee-ling, spokeswoman for Zi Teng, a support group for prostitutes.
The fourth woman murdered Sunday, Tam Sui-fong, 27, was killed in her apartment in North Point. The police believe the same man was not involved.The earlier three murders were committed in Tai Po and Yuen Long areas of the New Territories district. All victims were between 27 and 35-years-old. All of them were strangled.
“More arrests are likely,” said police senior superintendent Steve Li Wing-hong.
The Pakistani-origin suspect, who is unemployed and lives with his wife here, was caught from Macau city where he escaped after allegedly committing the crimes. The police traced him after he was caught on CCTV cameras leaving the buildings where the sex workers were killed.
The man was nabbed after he called up his brother and fixed up a place to receive money to escape from Hong Kong. The police lured him into a trap after they traced his brother.
“We can’t rule out the possibility that either one or more persons carried out these crimes,” Superintendent Steve Li Wing-hong said after the third murder, of Kei Kei Tse, 35, was discovered in Kwong Fuk Road, Tai Po.

Friday, 21 March 2008

Juan Carlos Zambrano was shot dead at close range

Journalist Juan Carlos Zambrano, news chief of Canal 7 television station in San Salvador de Jujuy, capital of Jujuy province in northwest Argentina, was shot dead at close range in the early hours of 19 March 2008. So far, there is no hard evidence indicating the motives for the killing. Roque Fernando Chauque, 34, is accused of the crime and in custody. The murder took place in the presence of a woman close to Zambrano. Both the authorities and various private individuals in Jujuy have indicated to FOPEA that they do not believe the crime was work-related, but rather that it was related to Zambrano's personal life. Zambrano's lawyer, Bruno Aguilar, told a television station that the murder was probably not related to Zambrano's work. San Salvador de Jujuy's Fourth Criminal Investigative Court (juzgado de instrucción penal número 4), over which Judge Juan Carlos Nieve presides, officially announced that "there is no evidence linking the murder to Zambrano's work as a journalist."
Nevertheless, some of the journalist's colleagues have suggested that the possibility that the murder was aimed at "silencing the press" should not be discarded. The national senator of the governing party, Guillermo Jenefes, who is also the owner of Radio Visión Jujuy, the multi-media media outlet where Zambrano worked, insisted "the provincial police and the justice system should clarify the incident." Jenefes told FOPEA: "We have received a lot of threats, and my house was attacked last Friday," during a demonstration. According to Jenefes, the assailants were "'piqueteros' from various sectors, because we were always critical of violence." The term "piqueteros" refers to various social movements that arose at the end of the 1990s.
However, Jenefes said "of course" he does not discard the possibility that the crime was related to Zambrano's personal life.
The "piqueteros" have not had a history of involvement in either murders or inflicting serious injuries on the people with whom they disagree politically.
FOPEA demands that an exhaustive investigation be conducted to determine the motive for Zambrano's murder.

Ilyas Shurpayev's added his name to the list of journalists have been slain in contract-style killings in Russia

"A journalist for state-run Russian television was found dead in Moscow early Friday and prosecutors have opened a murder investigation, colleagues and officials said.
Firefighters found Channel One correspondent Ilyas Shurpayev's body in his apartment with stab wounds and a belt around his neck, Channel One spokeswoman Larisa Krymova said. She said a fire was apparently set in the apartment after the attack.
The Investigative Committee, a branch of the prosecutor's office said a murder investigation was underway. It said nothing about a possible motive.
State-run Vesti-24 television cited a concierge in Shurpayev's building as saying he had called down from his apartment early Friday to ask her to let two young men in.
Shurpayev, 32, was a native of the mostly Muslim Dagestan province and had worked in Russia's violence-ridden North Caucasus, which includes Dagestan and war-scarred Chechnya. Dagestan is plagued by tension among rival groups and political factions.
Hours before his death, Shurpayev wrote in his blog that the owners of a newspaper in Dagestan banned a column he wrote and instructed its staffers not to mention his name in publications.
"Now I am a dissident!" was the title of the last entry in the Web journal under his name.
More than a dozen journalists have been slain in contract-style killings in Russia since 2000. Many journalists appear to have been targeted for beatings and killings because of their attempts to dig into allegations of corruption

“This story is a lie,” Combs said in a statement on Monday. “It is beyond ridiculous and is completely false.

On Flamingo Road, near the intersection of Koval Lane, a white cadillac rolls up to the passenger side of the BMW. According to one witness, two men got out of the Cadillac and fire 13 rounds at the BMW from less than 13 feet away. Shakur, sitting in the passenger side of the car, is hit three times, one striking his hip, another his right hand, with the fatal wound to his chest. According to the witness, Shakur attempts to jump into the back seat of the car as he is being shot. Two tires are punctured in the barrage of gunfire. Knight suffers a minor wound to his head or neck. Suge turns to Tupac and asks "Are you OK Pac?" Tupac, after seeing blood on Knight's head says, "Me? You're the one shot in the mutha-fuckin' head!"THE Los Angeles Times has linked two former associates of rap mogul Sean “Diddy” Combs to a 1994 assault on singer Tupac Shakur and suggested Combs knew of the attack in advance. Combs called the story “a lie”.

The newspaper’s report on Monday cited an unnamed source who said he was questioned during a federal probe of the shooting and beating of Shakur at the Quad Recording Studios in New York City.
Combs’ associates helped plan the attack, the source told the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Times. The paper said it corroborated the source’s comments in several ways. The Times suggested Combs and another rapper, the Notorious BIG (Christopher Wallace), knew Shakur was being set up. For years, Shakur claimed Combs was involved, it said.
“This story is a lie,” Combs said in a statement on Monday. “It is beyond ridiculous and is completely false. Neither Biggie (Wallace) nor I had any knowledge of any attack before, during or after it happened.”
Shakur’s assault ignited a widely reported feud between US East Coast and West Coast rappers that resulted in insults hurled back and forth in songs and, on occasion, violence against members of both camps.
Shakur, a rising star in the early 1990s with hit CDs such as 2pacalypse Now and a member of the West Coast group, was killed in 1996 in a drive-by shooting in Las Vegas.
Six months later, Notorious BIG, who was signed to Combs’ New York-based Bad Boy Records, was killed in a drive-by shooting in Los Angeles.
Neither of the murders has been solved and speculation persists about possible suspects. Similarly, the identity of Shakur’s attackers at Quad Studios and the motive remain mysteries despite an FBI probe.
The Times said it recently obtained FBI records showing a confidential informant had implicated two New York rap figures at the time — talent manager James “Jimmy Henchman” Rosemond and promoter James Sabatino — as having “set up the rapper Tupac Shakur to get shot at Quad Studios.”
The paper’s story linked Rosemond and Sabatino to Combs, who wanted to sign Shakur to a recording contract. It said Rosemond and Sabatino helped plan the attack “to punish Shakur for disrespecting them and rejecting their business overtures and, not incidentally, to curry favour with Combs.”
Rosemond, jailed for three years after a 1996 conviction on drugs and weapons charges, has for years denied any involvement in the 1994 attack on Shakur and he declined comment for the Times story. In a statement on Monday, Rosemond said he has never been questioned by police or federal officials about the assault, let alone charged with the crime. — Reuters.

Margaret Crane pleaded guilty to shooting Daniel George Dubie

An unidentified Thai woman, mourns over the dead body of a Canadian man, George Patrick Dubie, at a Chiang Mai hospital in Chiang Mai province on Monday.
(Wichai Taprieu/Associated Press)A Canadian man has been shot and killed by his girlfriend in northern Thailand, police said on Monday.Police in the city of Chiang Mai said George Patrick Dubie, 52, was shot on Sunday night during a heated argument with his girlfriend, Margaret Crane, 48.Police said Dubie was Canadian but didn't release any further details about where he came from.Witnesses told police that the pair argued while in a restaurant in Chiang Mai, which is about 600 kilometres north of Bangkok.Police officials said Crane shot Dubie, then fled in a vehicle. She was reportedly later picked up at a police checkpoint.Police said Crane told them Dubie had been working in Thailand as a freelance reporter for the U.S. news network CNN.But CNN's Bangkok bureau said it has no record of the man.
Margaret Crane was sentenced yesterday to 31/2 years in prison for the murder of her long-term lover -- a con man with cult-like appeal who was also the father of her six children.It is considered one of the lightest sentences ever delivered in Thailand for a foreigner charged with murder.Margaret Crane, 50, had pleaded guilty to shooting Daniel George Dubie, 56, in the chest in this northern tourist town, 600 kilometres north of Bangkok, two years ago.
"I'm very happy," Margaret Crane said yesterday as she was led from court in Chiang Mai, Thailand.
very happy," a smiling Crane called out to a group of western friends as she was led from court."This is the best possible sentence in the circumstances," said Crane's lawyer, Pongsaporn Peejadee.
Crane stood clutching a Bible during the 40-minute hearing, looking calm and composed as two judges read out the reasons for the light sentence for a crime that would normally incur a sentence of 20 years in prison.
The judges said a potential sentence of 51/2 years, including 18 months for possession of a gun and ammunition, was reduced by two years because of Crane's guilty plea. They also allowed a one-month period for an appeal.
"The court views that the defendant committed the crime as charged, but did it in a rage after being provoked, pressured and beaten," a judge said as he read the verdict. "Therefore the sentence is lower than what is stated in the law."
It was unclear whether the sentence will be reduced by the 16 months that Crane has already spent in custody. However, on completion of sentences, it is normal Thai practice to deport foreign criminals immediately and ban them for life from returning to the country.
Peejadee said he was satisfied with the two-year sentence on the murder charge, but would appeal the 18 months on the firearm penalty as his client did not own or carry the pistol to the restaurant where Dubie was shot. Crane has previously told police that she used a revolver she took from him during a scuffle.
Dubie, who had a bizarre past and has drawn comparisons to cult leaders Charles Manson and Jim Jones, was shot in the chest after the couple had a heated argument. Earlier, the Bangkok Post reported that Crane told police she and her children suffered abuse at the hands of Dubie and that the situation had worsened since he began an affair with a Thai woman.Crane, who never married Dubie but travelled with him across Canada, to Hawaii and Thailand over 28 years, was also dubbed by some as his "most devoted disciple."Crane told the court she went to see Dubie at a restaurant to get cash he promised to give her and their children during a stay in Thailand, but he abused her verbally and said their youngest daughter was not his.
Crane's eldest child, 23-year-old Angel, who lives in Victoria, was in Thailand for her mother's court appearance on Feb. 29 when she entered her guilty plea but didn't go for the sentencing. Yesterday, she couldn't be reached for comment via telephone or at her home.After the shooting, Angel successfully won custody of her five younger siblings who were with their mother in Thailand. They were greatly helped by community donations of furniture, household articles and money.
In an earlier interview, Angel said her father had a bizarre outlook on life and manipulated those around him.
"He had my mother convinced that she was responsible for bringing sin into the world and it was now up to them to reset the balance in the world between good and evil," Angel said shortly after her mother's arrest.

Gursewak Singh Gill and Amanpal Kaur Gill contract killing carried out at the behest of a brother-sister duo

Contract killings involving non-resident Indians have increased in Punjab in recent years. In most cases, failed marriages, illicit affairs and property disputes are the main reason why NRIs get people killed. The killings are carried out in Punjab and not in the adopted countries of these NRIs because of the lax laws here, said Baath.A rogue policeman and the parents of two Canadian siblings charged in connection with the same double murder were arrested in Punjab’s Moga town last week.The trio was arrested for its involvement in the alleged honour killing of a young Ontario man who was gunned down near the quiet agricultural hamlet of Gonsgarh near Moga in a sensational Valentine’s Day assassination last month.The arrests have sent shock waves through the Punjab heartland, already reeling with the news that two “decent youngsters” who left the agrarian region for Canada and a better life allegedly scripted a dark, murderous plot writ large across their proud and ancient homeland.
In total, four members of one family, a crooked gun-for-hire cop and a fifth accused currently in the wind all allegedly cooked up and executed the vindictive murder plot after the targeted young victim reportedly dumped his Canadian lover to marry a Punjabi girl in a marriage arranged by his family near his ancestral home.Jasbir Singh, a 25-year-old truck driver from Brampton, was murdered just hours after his sister’s wedding and a day before his own traditional nuptials in an alleged contract killing carried out at the behest of a brother-sister duo, Gursewak Singh Gill and Amanpal Kaur Gill, both based in Brampton, Ont. where they have been living for the past five years.Jasbir’s cousin Harpreet Singh, an innocent bystander, was also killed after a contract killer - or killers - pumped several bullets into the young men after their vehicle was run off the road in the nearby village of Nihal Singhwala, where Jasbir’s sister’s wedding had just been held and where he was to be wed the very next day. A third man in the victims’ car, Manjit Singh, who was sitting next to Jasbir in the front seat when a volley of bullets was fired through the side windows, survived the brazen, roadside attack.“Harpreet, sitting in the backseat, tried to jump out and was shot,” said Manjit, who described the assassins car as a white Honda City, a key observation that helped crack the bizarre case.
Police said Gursewak was seen by witnesses during the run-up to the wedding celebrations in a white Honday City with several other men.
The Moga police have arrested Ashwini, a policeman with the Indian Reserve Battalion, as well as Punjab Singh Gill and his wife Gurmeet Kaur Gill. While Ashwini has been charged with the actual murders of Jasbir and his cousin, Punjab and Gurmeet – parents of siblings Gursewak and Amanpal - have been charged with conspiracy.Investigations have revealed that no money was ever handed over for Jasbir’s murder, but police have established jealousy and perceived dishonour – as well as allegations of failed dowry bidding - as possible motives and precursors to the crime.Moga district police chief Ashok Baath said that the police are trying to nab another accused, Amit, for his role in the killings, but offered no further details.Baath also said that police are “initiating the process” with Ottawa to get the brother-sister duo extradited from Canada to answer for their crimes. In an earlier statement to police obtained by the South Asian Post, the duo’s mother, Gurmeet, said: “My children are innocent . . . Amanpal wanted to marry Jasbir . . . We even offered them more money for the marriage as Jasbir was marrying the other girl for a hefty dowry. My son had come to India on Jan. 27 and gone back on Feb. 12. How could he be the killer?”Justice Canada would not confirm nor deny whether Gursewak and Amanpal are being extradited, stating privacy rules surrounding state-to-state communications in matters of extradition.Repeated calls to the siblings homes and cell phones went unanswered.Jasbir, who was reportedly having “an affair” with Amanpal back in Brampton and was a friend and workmate of her brother Gursewak, was waylaid near his native village during his return from nearby Nihal Singhwala.
According to Jasbir’s brother-in-law, Rajvinder Singh, also a Canadian, Jasbir made it clear to Amanpal that their Western-style relationship would never lead to marriage and that he was promised through family ties to a young woman in the village of Nihal Singhwala.Nevertheless, Amanpal was reportedly infuriated at being spurned while her brother was allegedly outraged over the “dishonouring” of his sister.“She had threatened that if he married some other girl in India, he would never return to Canada,” claimed Rajvinder.In an earlier interview with the South Asian Post, Moga district police chief Baath suggested the murder was indeed planned by, “a woman scorned.”In a dramatic twist, the rogue cop Ashwani revealed under police interrogation that Gursewak had married his own sister Amanpal on paper under the adopted name and passport of Inderjit Singh to help her migrate to Canada. If verified, this immigration crime could well lead to the expulsion from Canada of both Gursewak and Amanpal.
The money involved in each contract killing, according to police officials, is anything between $5,000 and $125,000.Interestingly, this trend is picking up even as the Punjab government last month announced the formation of six police stations in the state exclusively for NRIs to deal with their problems in Punjab.Said Jalandhar range deputy inspector general Narinder Pal Singh: “NRIs sitting abroad think they can get away with it by getting the crime committed in Punjab through contract killers . . . they are wrong.”According to Singh, there have been around two dozen contract killings in Punjab since 2005. In most cases, he said, it is difficult to nab the suspect NRI as he – or she – is typically safely ensconced overseas in an adopted homeland behind the shield of geography and international law.
Perhaps the most infamous case locally was that of Maple Ridge beautician Jaswinder Kuar alias Jassi, a young NRI woman who was murdered in a gruesome barnyard knifing in Malerkotla town in June 2000. Her death was an “honour killing,” payback from her family which was upset she had secretly married a lowly rickshaw driver.
The murder was carried out by contract killers at the family’s behest.
The Punjab and Haryana High Court recently upheld the life imprisonment of four relatives of Jaswinder Kaur.

Wednesday, 19 March 2008

Yukos Vice-President Leonid Nevzlin was put on the international wanted list in July 2004

A Moscow court is hearing the case against the former Yukos Vice-President Leonid Nevzlin. He is accused of being involved in a number of contract killings and attempted murders, as well as tax evasion and fraud. The trial will be held in absentia as Nevzlin currently lives in exile in Israel.
The prosecution is also suggesting there may be a link between the poisoning of Aleksandr Litvinenko and criminal cases underway against Yukos executives.
“We have received information that mercury was found in the victims' cars, in their apartments, country houses and offices, and not only in Moscow but also in London.This and other information discovered by the investigation leads to a possible connection between two criminal cases: the killing of Aleksandr Litvinenko and the attempted murder of businessman Dmitry Kovtun, and the case accusing a number of Yukos executives of committing serious and exceedingly grave crimes against the life and health of humans,” said Marina Gridneva, from the Prosecutor General’s Office.Nevzlin has admitted he met Litvinenko shortly prior to his death but dismisses the new accusation as a continuation of political games.
Prosecutors will also describe how Nevzlin ordered the murder of Vladimir Petukhov, Mayor of the west Siberian oil town of Nefteyugansk. Petukhov was gunned down in June 1998 when he and his bodyguard were walking to work. Investigators allege the motive for the killing was Petukhov’s attempts to recover taxes that Yukos owed to the city.In the same year, an attempt was made on the life of the East Petroleum Company’s boss, Evgeny Rybin, whose car was rigged with a bomb. Rybin has filed a number of lawsuits against Yukos, claiming the oil company owe him more than $US 100 million.Nevzlin maintains his innocence and, in fact, accuses Rybin of blackmailing and falsifying documents against Yukos.Another killing Nevzlin was allegedly behind was that of Valentina Korneeva, a Moscow businesswoman, in 1998. Korneeva refused to sell property in central Moscow to the Menatep Group, which at the time controlled over 50 per cent of Yukos.Former Yukos Security Chief, Aleksey Pichugin, was sentenced to life imprisonment last August for organising all these crimes. During the Pichugin trial, Nevzlin was named as the person one who’d ordered the contracts.Nevzlin claims he is a victim of a campaign against those linked to Yukos’ founder Mikhail Khodorkovsky.Nevzlin fled the country for Israel in 2003, where he remains in self-exile. Nevzlin was put on the international wanted list in July 2004. Israel has refused to extradite him to Russia, saying more evidence was required.

Narayan Thadani,Douglas Enor Tobar were arrested in connection with the alleged contract killings.

Two Houston-area residents accused of hiring local men to kill a Detroit couple over a real-estate deal in India could face the federal death penalty.
Retired engineer Narayan Thadani, 60, of Richmond and his 40-year-old Houston landscaper, Douglas Enor Tobar, were arrested over the weekend in connection with the alleged contract killings.They are charged with conspiracy to murder and use of interstate commerce facilities in the commission of murder-for-hire.Under federal guidelines, a conviction on the conspiracy charge brings up to life in prison. The murder-for-hire charge carries a potential death sentence.Both men made their first appearance Tuesday in Houston federal court.
Last week, Michigan police stopped Nelson Mendoza, 34, of Houston, who was driving a Chrysler with a Texas license plate in the town of Taylor, a Detroit bedroom community. Miguel Angel Servando, 40, of Katy, was a passenger.In a criminal complaint filed Monday at the federal courthouse in Detroit, an FBI agent wrote that officers seized a handgun, ski mask and bloody latex gloves from the car along with a blood-smeared envelope with the names of a couple and a hand-drawn diagram of the interior of a residence.Less than an hour after the traffic stop, Brij Chhabra, 65, and his wife, Aasha Chhabra, 56, were found dead in their suburban Detroit home.
According to Detroit FBI Agent Sean M. Callaghan's affidavit, Servando and Mendoza traveled from Texas to Michigan to commit the execution-style killings at the behest of Tobar and Thadani. Thadani supposedly asked Tobar many times if he could help "get rid" of the Michigan husband and wife, according to the document.
Servando and Mendoza were charged with two counts of first-degree murder and possession of a firearm during the commission of a felony. Both men, originally from El Salvador, have pleaded not guilty.Kent Schaffer, a Houston lawyer retained by Thadani, said his client is innocent and never met with Servando or Mendoza.
"He didn't do it. He didn't hire anybody. He didn't solicit anybody," Schaffer said after Tuesday afternoon's hearing.
Tobar was not represented in court Tuesday, but told U.S. Magistrate Judge Stephen Smith he'd like an opportunity to hire a lawyer. Tobar is scheduled to return to court today.
Thadani, a friend of Aasha Chhabra's father, was supposed to invest about $2 million she made from the sale of her family's home in India. The woman, who was in declining health due to multiple sclerosis, handed authority to Thadani to ensure that her daughter, now 21, would inherit the money and so that it wouldn't be spent by her husband, Schaffer said.When Thadani did not forward as much as $1.5 million still owed the woman, the Chhabras sued him in Tarrant County. Schaffer said Brij Chhabra was managing the civil lawsuit.Shortly before their slayings, the couple apparently received a document that supported their case.Schaffer said there's no link between the civil lawsuit and this criminal case because the money has been frozen since 2006."There was no big development in the case that was going to change the nature of the litigation," Schaffer said. "It's not as if our client receives the money. The money still goes to the daughter. ... (Thadani) had absolutely no reason in the world to want to see them dead."Tobar and Thadani will remain at the federal detention center in downtown Houston until at least Monday, the day Smith set a hearing to determine whether the government has probable cause for the charges and if the men will be released on bail. Tobar and Thadani are being held pending extradition to Michigan. The case will be tried in Detroit, where the complaint was filed, Smith said, unless either man pleads guilty and prosecutors agree to resolve that case in Houston.Tobar told the judge he was a married father of two who owned his landscaping company. Neighbors described Thadani as a shy but friendly bachelor who built a palatial garden in his backyard that mirrored the elaborate interior of his upscale 5,500-square-foot home.

Women contract killers

The new and deadly trend in the badlands of western Uttar Pradesh is that the infamous gangs of ‘supari’ or contract killers are now using the ‘F’ factor apart from guns, knives and other weapons. These gangs are using feminine charm to liquidate their victims. "This is a new trend of women luring victims,” says SSP Meerut, Jai Narayan.Over 250 gangs are actively using the services of women to trap and kill their targets and more than 40 such contract killings have taken place in western UP in which women were used to trap potential victims. These women are also actively taking part in many highway robberies.
The love snare became a subject of investigation by the UP Police after a woman hitched a ride from a politician on a highway and then robbed him. In their attempt to track down this woman, police learnt that criminals were employing women to trap, rob and kill rich men.
Part of the robbery gang, Zahida, has told the police that she has trapped and killed at least 4 people by using her charm. She also said that the use of women makes the task of carrying out the contract killing a lot easier. The police have now woken up to this alarming trend of using women to kill and have launched a statewide inquiry to investigate these cases in detail.

Saturday, 15 March 2008

Mykola Protasov ,Valeriy Kostenko ,Oleksandr PopovychThree former police officers convicted of killing an investigative journalist

A Ukrainian court convicted three former police officers Saturday of killing an investigative journalist nearly eight years ago. The convictions end a high-profile trial that Heorhiy Gongadze's family say has failed to bring the true masterminds to justice.Mykola Protasov was sentenced to 13 years in jail while Valeriy Kostenko and Oleksandr Popovych each received 12-year sentences.
Gongadze's beheaded body was found in a forest outside Kyiv in November 2000.
Gongadze crusaded against official corruption. His killing triggered months of protests after Mykola Melnychenko, a former bodyguard to then-president Leonid Kuchma, released tape recordings in which voices resembling those of Kuchma and others were heard conspiring against the journalist.Oleksiy Pukach, the former chief of the Interior Ministry's surveillance department, is also wanted for the murder and is being sought on an international warrant.Investigations have failed to track down those who ordered the killing.

Thursday, 6 March 2008

Victor Bout world's most famous arms dealer arrested in Thailand

Victor Bout, arguably the world's most famous arms dealer, was arrested in Thailand today, the New York Times reports. His arrest appears to be unexpected fallout resulting from escalating tensions in South America. Mr. Bout’s arrest in Thailand came after a Colombian military raid into Ecuador on Saturday, during which the Colombian Army killed 24 guerrillas and obtained a computer laptop belonging to a senior FARC rebel commander. It was not immediately clear whether the arrest and the seizure of information on the laptop were related.The arrest came on a tip from the United States Drug Enforcement Agency that Mr. Bout was traveling to Thailand, said Police Col. Petcharat Sengchai of the Crime Suppression Division, who led the arresting team.Colonel Petcharat said Mr. Bout, who is a Russian citizen, was wanted for “the procurement of weapons and explosives for Colombian rebels," referring to the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, or FARC, a leftist insurgency that has been fighting Colombia’s government for decades and is known to fund itself partly through the cocaine trade.The police said Mr. Bout had been arrested at noon at the Silom Sofitel Hotel in Bangkok and was being held in the offices of the Crime Suppression Division. His assets and front companies were targeted by the Treasury in 2005 because of his connections to Charles G. Taylor, the former president of Liberia who faces charges of war crimes.A security analyst in Bangkok, who had spoken to the Thai authorities and who spoke on the condition of anonymity, said Mr. Bout had been in Thailand since January and was regularly changing hotels. He was arrested during a meeting with someone from Russia or Eastern Europe, the analyst said, and American counter-terrorism officials were interrogating him. The analyst said the Thai government was anxious to get him out of the country, and the American authorities were anxious to get him as well.Like many Russian oligarchs, Bout was an unusual character who seemed to almost relish status as the archetype of the "Merchant of Death," as this 2003 profile of him in The New York Times Magazine makes clear. As the article about his arrest also makes clear, Bout seemed to flout his notoriety, but denied illegal activities:

A mythology grew up around him, but in 2002 he appeared abruptly on a Moscow radio station, Ekho Moskvy news radio, insisting on the air that he was innocent, and had never had contact with Taliban or Al Qaeda representatives. He said that the accusations against him “resemble more a script for a Hollywood thriller.”

“I can say only one thing: I have never supplied or done anything and I have never been in contact with either Taliban representatives or Al Qaeda representatives,” Mr. Bout said.

According to Brian Johnson-Thomas, an arms trafficking researcher in Britain, Mr. Bout has been selling arms to the FARC for the last year to 18 months. He said the weapons were mostly AK-47s and rocket-propelled grenades, and possibly some surface-to-air missiles.The weapons came from Central Asia, mostly Kazakhstan, Mr. Johnson-Thomas said. He said Mr. Bout had over 40 planes, and that many of them were registered in Equitorial Guinea.
The arms reached the FARC via Paraguay, then through Argentina and Uruguay, said Mr. Johnson-Thomas, who returned recently from a research trip to South America. Mr. Bout’s planes “don’t return empty,” he said. They return to Africa loaded with drugs, which are then shipped into Europe. "It’s guns in, drugs out," he said.
Bout is a fascinating figure, but perhaps more so because he demonstrates how little we actually understand about much of Russia's illicit arms trade. For those interested in more details, there's also a book that covers Victor Bout called, not surprisingly, Merchant of Death.

Elacio Murillo Mosquera,Six journalists were murdered in 2007

Six journalists were murdered in 2007 but only one of the killings was thought to be job-related. Crimes against media workers have fallen under President Uribe but he is vindictive towards journalists, putting their lives in danger. The media remains the target of armed groups and six journalists were forced to flee the country during the year.
The murder of Elacio Murillo Mosquera, correspondent for the weekly Chocó 7 Días and programme chief for the radio station Canalete Estéreo, on 10 January 2007, was the only one of the six journalist deaths during the year that might have been job-related. Shot dead by a motorcyclist (later arrested), he had been investigating the activity of armed groups in the coastal province of Chocó and had reported the demobilisation of 150 paramilitaries of the “Bloque Pacífico” section of the right-wing United Self-Defence Groups of Colombia (AUC). If Murillo Mosquera’s murder turns out not to be related to his work, 2007 will be the first year since 1985 that no journalist has been killed in Colombia for doing his job. In the second half of the year, five other journalists were murdered but for reasons unrelated to their work.
The fewer crimes against media workers under the rule of President Alvaro Uribe (elected in 2002 and reelected in 2006 on a national security platform) is an achievement in a country at war with itself for the past 42 years and notorious for its extreme danger. But press freedom has not really improved at the same time. The AUC, officially demobilised between 2003 and 2006, has not disarmed and has kept its influence, even in the political background, where some of the media is poorly regarded. Two gunmen, suspected members of The Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC), went to the hotel of freelance photographer Afranio Franco in Planadas (Tolima province) in May 2007 and forced him to hand over his film. He had earlier had death threats. Ten employees of the radio station HJ Doble K in Neiva (in the southwestern province of Huila) were injured in the bombing of the station on 22 March just as the local mayor was due to visit it. Threats attributed to the FARC also forced the head of Caracol Radio, Darío Arizmendi, to leave the country on 8 March. Germán Hernández Vera, editor of the daily Diario del Huila, in Neiva, also fled abroad later that month apparently after FARC threats. The journalist had recently exposed embezzlement.
Killings of journalists have been replaced by flight into exile. Seven fled the country or their region in 2007, one more than in 2006. Hollman Morris, producer of a programme currently off the schedule of state-owned TV station Canal Uno for financial reasons, left with his family for the United States on 21 October after new e-mailed death threats. He had also been forced to flee in 2005 after being accused of being “a FARC spokesman” in a video distributed by a paramilitary group.
Drug-smuggling remained the most dangerous subject for the media to cover. The curiosity of Rubén Valencia, managing editor of the regional daily Q’hubo, in Cali, about Olmes Durán Ibargüen (“El Doctor”), head of the Pacific coast drug cartel arrested in Bogotá on 15 June, resulted in a contract being put out to kill him. Giovanni Alvarez, of the community radio station La Nueva in the northern city of Barranquilla, fled abroad in October following serious threats to him after he reported on corruption during the regional election campaign.
Journalists also risk their lives if they look too closely at the ties between the authorities and the paramilitaries since they officially disbanded, ties some call “para-politics”. Death threats from former or present AUC members sometimes come only hours after a journalist has been criticised by a politician, a police officer or even the president.
President Uribe does not like being criticised and often personally takes issue with journalists, which would not matter if the media was working in safe conditions. Uribe made at least three such attacks in 2007. He accused Carlos Lozano, editor of the communist weekly Voz, of being “in the pay of FARC” when speaking on Caracol Radio in February. Daniel Coronell, news editor of the publicly-owned TV station Canal Uno and columnist for the magazine Semana, had to argue live with the president on radio station La FM on 9 October. Uribe was enraged to hear Coronell recall the disclosure by the mistress of the late Medellín cartel boss Pablo Escobar that Uribe had dealings with the druglord when he was governor of Antioquia province, and called the station at once to respond. A few hours later, Coronell got an e-mail from the Aguilas Negras paramilitaries warning that “anyone who attacks the president signs his own death warrant.”
Gonzálo Guillén, correspondent for the US daily El Nuevo Herald, fled the country after he was attacked by Uribe in print for the same reason six days earlier. His complaint against the president for “insults” is in abeyance and after he returned to Colombia in early December, he received countless threats.A row over tapping the phones of opposition figures or sympathisers, such as Hollman Morris, by the intelligence services has keep up tension between the presidency and some of the media. The treatment in Colombia of the Latin American TV station Telesur, founded by Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez, did not make a rapprochement any easier between Uribe and Chávez, who mediated the release of FARC hostages. One of the station’s reporters, Freddy Muñoz, was freed on 9 January 2007 after being held for 50 days by paramilitaries, and his captors claimed (using an alleged doctored photo) that he was a member of their group, which led to Muñoz’ arrest for “terrorism” on 7 February. National police chief Gen Oscar Naranjo criticised Telesur journalist Wiliam Parra in November of misusing an interview he had with a policeman who had been kidnapped by the FARC. The tape of the interview was to be used by Chávez as proof the policeman was still alive in the negotiations for his release.

Leader of Tambov gang in St. Petersburg, Russia arrested

A leader of the so-called Tambov gang in St. Petersburg, Russia, has been arrested in connection with two contract killings, a source said.The unidentified source said Igor Kalinovsky, reportedly one of the Russian gang's top leaders, was arrested along with two other suspects for his alleged role in two apparent gang hits, the Interfax news agency reported Saturday."Igor Kalinovsky, a native of the Gomel region (Belarus) and one of the leaders of the criminal community, has been arrested. He and two of his sidekicks have been charged with committing two contract killings," the source said.
"In addition to contract killings, they have been charged with killing one of their accomplices."

Outsourced Killings Murder inc in the Punjab Doaba belt

The most infamous of the Canadian cases involves Jaswinder Kaur Sidhu, a British Columbia beautician who was murdered by contract killers hired by her family after she secretly married a poor man they did not approve of. Indian police have been trying since 2000 to arrest the victim’s mother and uncle, whom they allege were the masterminds.Here are some of the other contract murder cases involving Canadian NRIs in India:
In November 2005, police allege that Vancouver businessman Bachan Singh Kingra was hacked to death by two hired assassins. The killers were allegedly hired by his oldest daughter, Balwinder Kaur, who was irked by her 64-year-old father’s plan to get a new bride, have a son and give him the family land over her.
In July 2007, Indian police arrested Calgary resident Jagtar Singh Mallhi, 32, who had orchestrated a fake car crash with the help of hired killers to murder his wife. He was allegedly upset that his wife would not consent to his illiterate cousin getting married to her university-educated sister.
In August 2003, Canadian doctor Asha Goel was the victim of a brutal beating death in Mumbai, India. There had been a rift among her siblings over a multi-million-dollar inheritance. Dr. Goel, 62, was chief obstetrician at the Headwaters Health Centre in Orangeville, Ontario.
In January 2008, Indian police alleged that a Surrey family hired a group of contract killers for about C$3,000 to kill Ranphool Singh of Mundiya village after he failed to come up with the promised Rs30 lakh rupees (C$76,000) dowry for his daughter. Police arrested the contract killers while they were on their way to commit the murder.

When murder is cheaper and less fraught with risk elsewhere, what's the logical thing to do? Outsource it! And some NRIs are doing just that. Be it a distant relative who has seized ancestral property or a recalcitrant daughter who has besmirched the family name by marrying beneath her, the 'final solution' lies at home. Conspiracies are hatched abroad but the back office is invariably Punjab where an obliging friend or cousin can arrange a hired gun. Deed done and scores settled, the getaway is just a flight away. Twenty-five-year-old Jasbir Singh fell victim to just such a long-distance plot allegedly hatched by his spurned Canadian lover. In Punjab to get married to another girl, Jasbir never made it to his wedding which was fixed for Valentine's Day. The day before the marriage he was shot dead by assailants in Nihalsinghwala village of Moga district. His cousin Harpreet, who was with him in the Tata Sumo, was also killed. Police suspect that the attack was the handiwork of the NRI's jilted lover Amanpal in collusion with her brother Gursewak who hired contract killers. Gursewak, who had worked with Jasbir in Canada, was seen in the area with some men the day after the murder. ''We have registered a case against Gursewak and Amanpal on the basis of a complaint by the victims' family. They have alleged that Amanpal was putting pressure on Jasbir to marry her but he was not willing to do so as he suspected her of infidelity,'' says Moga SSP Ashok Bath. Gursewak is suspected to have fled back to Canada. In another case, an enraged matriarch in the UK orchestrated the death of her 26-year-old daughter-in-law Surjit Kaur Athwal for announcing that she wanted a divorce. Determined not to let Surjit 'disgrace' the family name, Bachan Athwal persuaded her to go to Punjab on the pretext of a family wedding in December 1998. Surjit disappeared without a trace but Bachan boasted to relatives that she had arranged for her to be strangled and thrown into a river. Bachan and her son Sukhdave, Surjit's husband, nearly got away with murder but eventually a family member went to the police. Bachan and her son were both convicted in Britain but Surjit's brother Jagadeesh Singh is still fighting for justice as his sister's killers in India roam free. ''NRIs think they can kill with ease and impunity on their home turf. They shouldn't be allowed to get away with it,'' says Jagadeesh, who lives in London. Greater cooperation between the police of UK and India would ensure that killers are brought to book, he says.

Jasbir and Surjit are not isolated cases. In the last two years, there have been over a dozen contract killings involving NRIs in Punjab. But police are convinced that justice eventually does take its course despite procedural delays in getting suspects extradited. ''NRIs sitting abroad think that they can get away with it by getting the crime committed in Punjab through contract killers,'' says Jalandhar range deputy inspector-general Narinder Pal Singh. ''But they are wrong.'' Most contract killers are small-time criminals who can be paid as much as Rs 50 lakh. The trend of contract killing itself has been on the rise in Punjab over the last decade. Police officials say it took root during the days of terrorism when foreign-based pro-Khalistan outfits discreetly carried out contract killings and protection rackets for NRIs through their affiliate militant gangs in Punjab. But the crimes went unnoticed as every killing then was passed off as a terrorist act.
But peace blew the lid off these supari killings. Most of the recent cases have occurred in Punjab's Doaba belt - the land between the Sutlej and Beas comprising the districts of Jalandhar, Hoshiarpur, Kapurthala and Nawanshahr. It's an area that boasts six million NRIs - equal to the population of New Zealand - and which, not surprisingly, has witnessed an unprecedented property boom. As land prices go up, so do feuds. ''Around 90% of NRI complaints that come to us relate to property,'' says Sacha Singh Mast, executive director of NRI Sabha.
During the recent NRI Sammelan, the state government promised to set up a fast-track court and six police stations to deal exclusively with complaints of NRIs. These measures will go quite a way in helping expats deal with defaulting tenants and land-grabbing relatives. For some others seeking a short-cut out of long legal disputes, murder via remote control may still be an option.The murder is the latest in a string of contract killings of Indo-Canadians and other Non-Resident Indians (NRIs) in Punjab.In many of the cases, poorly paid Indian policemen play a role in the killings or help cover-up evidence after getting paid in overseas dollars.
In most cases, broken marriages, illicit affairs and property disputes are the main reasons why NRIs are ordering people killed. The killings are carried out in Punjab and not in the adopted countries of these NRIs because of the lax laws in India, reports .
The money involved in each contract killing, according to police officials, is anything between C$5,000 to C$125,000.
Over the last two years, there have been at least two dozen contract killings involving NRIs in Punjab.
Most of the cases occurred in Punjab’s Doaba belt — the land between the Sutlej and Beas rivers comprising the districts of Jalandhar, Hoshiarpur, Kapurthala and Nawanshahr — where most of Canada’s South Asians hail from.
“NRIs sitting abroad think that they can get away with it by getting the crime committed in Punjab through contract killers,” said Jalandhar range deputy inspector general Narinder Pal Singh.
“They are wrong.”In Gosngarh, the villagers are in quandary.Remarkably, some say the brother and sister who have been charged with murder did the right thing to maintain the village honour. Others feel that there is no place for murder in their community.Charged in connection with the case are Amanpal Gill and her brother Gursewak Singh Gill. They live in Brampton, Ont. after having moved to Canada five years ago.They are accused of killing truck driver Jasbir Singh, also of Brampton and his India-based cousin, Harpreet Singh.Relating the case to the South Asian Post, Moga District Senior Superintendent of Police Ashok Bath alleged the murder was planned, by “a woman scorned.”“As per investigation held so far, the NRI Jasbir Singh and his cousin Harpreet Singh seem to have been killed by contract killers hired by NRI Amanpal Kaur Gill and her brother Gursewak Singh Gill,” he said.Jasbir and the brother Gursewak were friends in Brampton and had worked in the same Canadian company for some time.Young Amanpal got to know Jasbir and the two had a close relationship.However, Jasbir had no intention of marrying Amanpal, said family and friends Jasbir’s brother-in-law, Rajvinder Singh, also a Canadian citizen, said even though Jasbir was having an affair with Amanpal, he had made it clear that he would not marry her.“She had threatened that if he married some other girl in India, he would never return to Canada,” claimed Rajvinder.On January 7, Jasbir left for India to get married to another woman in the village of Nihal Singhwala — the bastion of the Dhaliwal clan.Jasbir’s parents had arrived a month earlier to finalise the wedding, which was to take place on Valentine’s Day.The arranged wedding in Nihal Singhwala was to be held the day after another wedding in the family.On the night of Feb 13, after the first wedding, Jasbir, his cousin Harpreet Singh and friend Manjit Singh, were returning home when a Honda City car overtook their vehicle and blocked its way.A gunman opened fire killing Jasbir, who was driving.
Manjit Singh, who was sitting next to Jasbir in the front seat, said a clean-shaven man opened fire through the side window, killing Jasbir on the spot. “Harpreet, sitting in the backseat, tried to jump out and was shot,” said Manjit.
Police said Gursewak, one of the accused, was seen during the run-up to the wedding celebrations in a white Honda City with several other men in Nihal Singhwala.
“We have lodged a report against both of them (Gursewak and Amanpal) on the complaint made by family members of the victims. They have alleged that Amanpal was putting pressure on Jasbir to marry her but he was not willing as he suspected her of infidelity,” said police superintendent Ashok Bath.
Repeated attempts were made by the South Asian Post to contact Amanpal at her cell phone and home numbers, but she did not call back before deadline.
In statements to Indian police, the families of the victim and the accused released the following statements.
Nirmal Singh, brother of the victim Jasbir Singh said: “Jasbir did not marry Amanpal as she was going around with many men. She claimed she was pregnant with Jasbir’s child but what was the proof he was the father. She had sent the contract killers.”
Gurmeet Kaur, mother of accused Amanpal Kaur and Gursewak Singh said: “My children are innocent . . . Amanpal wanted to marry Jasbir . . . We even offered them more money for the marriage as Jasbir was marrying the other girl for a hefty dowry. My son had come to India on Jan 27 and gone back on Feb 12. How could he be the killer?”
In Gonsgarh, villagers expressed shock that Amanpal Gill could be behind the murders and condemned the killings, but agreed Gill’s overarching grievances were just.
Nambarda Assa Singh said that while all murder should be condemned, youths who exploit a girl in the name of marrying her should be taught “some lessons.”Darbara Singh, another Canada-based NRI and a resident of the village, said youths who exploit girls would face “gory revenge.”“I don’t know if Amanpal and Gursewak killed them or not, but we villagers put the honour of the family over other things,” said Darbara Singh.Police are also investigating Gursewak for immigration fraud after he is suspecting of arranging a fake-document marriage with his sister Amanpal in order to get his immigration papers to Canada.Jasbir Singh’s murder at the hands of contract killers is the latest in a string of killings allegedly orchestrated by Non-resident Indians living in Canada and other western countries.In many of the Canadian cases, frustrated Indian police are unable to get their hands on the suspects because of Canada’s complex and snail-paced extradition process.Jalandhar range deputy inspector general Narinder Pal Singh attributed the increasing number of contract killings to disputes involving property, dowry and marriages.
“NRIs indulging in crime are also under the impression that they would not be caught while sitting abroad but it is not the case, and the police have been booking such NRIs,” he said.
Punjab police have recently set up six special police stations to deal with crimes involving NRIs.

Vyacheslav Shirshov, the chief purchasing officer at AvtoVAZ

Vyacheslav Shirshov, the chief purchasing officer at AvtoVAZ, the country's biggest carmaker, was murdered Thursday in his apartment building in Tolyatti, investigators said."An unidentified assailant fatally stabbed [Shirshov] in the stomach," said Irina Doroshenko, a spokeswoman for the Samara region branch of the Prosecutor General's Office, Interfax reported.Shirshov, 37, was the director of the procurement department, which oversees contracts on raw materials for AvtoVAZ and selects suppliers.Investigators said they were considering his professional duties, mugging and score settling by his adversaries as the three primary motives, Interfax reported.Tolyatti, a city of about 700,000 people on the Volga River, was known as Russia's crime capital in the early part of the decade, when contract killings occurred almost weekly, many of them related to the auto industry.More than 500 people affiliated with AvtoVAZ have been murdered in contract killings since 1992, according to media tallies.AvtoVAZ said Friday that a criminal case had been opened and that "various versions are being looked into.'' Renault, France's second-largest automaker, agreed in December to buy 25 percent of AvtoVAZ for an estimated $1.3 billion.The deal is expected to be closed on Friday.

Want someone killed in Australia?

Want someone killed in Australia? The average price for a "hit" is $12,700, but you can get it as cheap as $380. In fact, the Australian Institute of Criminology did a research study which showed that most contract killings are not ordered by criminals, but instead, by angry spouses and jilted lovers.

murder-for-hire saga unfolding in Punjab

A Brampton ( Canada) family has been recently caught up in a murder-for-hire saga unfolding in Punjab, India after two young men were gunned down this month.
A Brampton brother and sister had been accused by Indian police of hiring a hitman to kill the woman's ex-lover and his cousin in India on Feb. 13. Indian police say Amanpal Gill and her brother Gursewak Singh Gill allegedly hired the hitman after her lover, Jasbir Singh, a truck driver also from Brampton, went to India for an arranged marriage. The newspaper quoted Ashok Bath, a superintendent with the Moga District police, as saying Mr. Singh did not want to marry Ms. Gill. Mr. Singh, 23, and his cousin Harpreet Singh, 20, were killed when a gunman opened fire on their car while they were on their way home from Mr. Singh's wedding, the newspaper reported.The killing of Jasbir Singh, a 25-year-old NRI from Brampton in Canada, took place on Thursday, a day before his wedding. The Punjab police have booked an NRI brother-sister duo, Gursewak Singh Gill and Amanpal Kaur Gill, for the murder. Jasbir was waylaid near his native village of Saidoke in Moga district, 200 km from here, and sprayed with bullets by men who came in a Honda City car. His cousin, Harpreet Singh, too was killed. Jasbir, who drove a truck-trailer in Canada, reportedly had had an affair with Amanpal in Canada but was getting married to another girl from Punjab. This had infuriated the brother-sister duo. The police are also investigating the immigration angle to the crime after it came to light that Gursewak had married his own sister Amanpal on paper under the adopted name and passport of Inderjit Singh to help her migrate to Canada. This is not the only case nor the first of contract killings outsourced to India by NRIs. A number of overseas Indian papers are reporting on this case and all note that these contract killings are on the rise in India because of the lax laws and the problems associated with Canada's complex and snail-paced extradition process. In Punjab’s Doaba belt where the latest occurred, there has been 24 cases of contract killings carried out over the past two years and many of the high profile ones originate with money coming from NRI's living in Canada. August 2003, Canadian doctor Asha Goel was the victim of a brutal beating death in Mumbai, India. There had been a rift among her siblings over a multi-million-dollar inheritance. Dr. Goel, 62, was chief obstetrician at the Headwaters Health Centre in Orangeville, Ontario. Kuldeep Singh of Mukerian was killed in October 2005 following a land dispute with Gurdev Singh, an Indian living in the US. The NRI is said to have paid Rs.1.2 million for the contract killing. November 2005, police allege that Vancouver businessman Bachan Singh Kingra was hacked to death by two hired assassins. The killers were allegedly hired by his oldest daughter, Balwinder Kaur, who was irked by her 64-year-old father’s plan to get a new bride, have a son and give him the family land over her.
Well-established Leicester-based textile factory owner Mohan Singh was murdered outside a dhaba, roadside eatery, near Phillaur town, 15 km from Ludhiana, in August 2006. He was killed by a contract killer, Jasbir Singh, at the behest of his own brother Sukhjivan Singh. A woman was behind the killing, police investigations revealed. July 2007, Indian police arrested Calgary resident Jagtar Singh Mallhi , 32, who had orchestrated a fake car crash with the help of hired killers to murder his wife. He was allegedly upset that his wife would not consent to his illiterate cousin getting married to her university-educated sister. January 2008, Indian police alleged that a Surrey family hired a group of contract killers for about C$3,000 to kill Ranphool Singh of Mundiya village after he failed to come up with the promised Rs30 lakh rupees (C$76,000) dowry for his daughter. (South Asian Post)
The most prominent case is Jaswinder Kaur Sidhu (Jassi) who was kidnapped, tortured and murdered in 2000. She was found with her throat slit. She had married a poor man in India who her family did not agree with and Indian police allege that the family who currently live in Maple Ridge, B.C. gave her killer $50,000. The Indian police have tried to extradite her mother Malkiat Kaur and her uncle, Surjit Singh Badesha four times. Her death was an ‘honour killing’ carried out by contract killers at the behest of her family members who were upset that she married a taxi driver.
Jassi's case has been reported on world-wide but the majority of them tend to slip under the table and are under-reported if reported at all in Canada. With this most recent killing there has only been one other mention of it in a Canadian newspaper when the issues are deeply important.

Alexei Frenkel, the former head of a small Russian bank, is accused of hiring cab drivers to murder Kozlov

The Russian businessman accused of ordering the murder of Andrei Kozlov, a top central banker who was shot dead in 2006, pleaded not guilty on Monday.
Alexei Frenkel, the former head of a small Russian bank, is accused of hiring cab drivers to murder Kozlov, who led a clampdown on money-laundering and revoked the licenses of dozens of banks, including Frenkel's.
"This is slander. The prosecution does not have the right to pour these slops on me in public. I am not guilty and have nothing to do with this crime," Frenkel told the court.
Kozlov, 41, was gunned down in September 2006 after he left an amateur soccer match of bankers at a stadium in Moscow.
The murder of Kozlov, one of the highest profile killings of President Vladimir Putin's presidency, brought back memories of the turbulent 1990s when contract killings were common.
Months before his murder, Kozlov had revoked the license of VIP-Bank, where Frenkel was chief executive.
"Discontent is not a motive for killing someone from the top ranks of the Central Bank," said Frenkel's lawyer, Viktor Parshutkin, upon delivering the not-guilty plea.
Prosecutor Gulchekhra Ibragimova said two gunmen who carried out the murder each received $8,500 from Frenkel, while their driver was paid $3,000. All three men were cab drivers from Ukraine.
Liana Askerova, a former boxing promoter and restaurateur charged with helping Frenkel organise the murder, took $80,000 for her services, Ibragimova said.

contract killings committed by members of the so-called Tambov criminal community

A number of contract killings
committed by members of the so-called Tambov criminal community have
been solved in St. Petersburg, a source in the city police told Interfax
on Saturday.
"Igor Kalinovsky, a native of the Gomel region [Belarus] and one of
the leaders of the criminal community, has been arrested. He and two of
his sidekicks have been charged with committing two contract killings,"
the source said.
The crimes were committed in 2000 and 2001 and were related to a
turf war in St. Petersburg, he said.
"In addition to contract killings, they have been charged with
killing one of their accomplices," the source said.
Two other accomplices in one of the killings were killed in a car
crash under unclear circumstances in 2004, he said.
Investigators are working to identify the organizers of the solved
crimes, he said.
Interfax could not immediately obtain official confirmation of the
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