Jaspal Atwal, the man at the centre of Trudeau’s trouble-plagued trip to India says he wants to testify before a parliamentary committee just as MPs prepare to hear from Trudeau’s own national security adviser about what went wrong on the visit.
Atwal said, I am seeing all this circus going around, sick and tired with that, and I want to tell the truth.I want to come to committee and they can ask me any question they want.”
During Trudeau’s official trip to India in February, Jaspal Atwal — a Canadian of Indian descent who was convicted of attempted murder for trying to assassinate Indian cabinet minister Malkiat Singh Sidhu while he was visiting Vancouver Island in 1986 — turned up at an official event and got an invitation to another at the Canadian High Commission in Delhi.
Photos of Atwal posing with a Liberal cabinet minister and Trudeau’s wife, Sophie Gregoire Trudeau, at an Indian film industry event in Mumbai were sent to media outlets, including the CBC, touching off a public relations firestorm for the Trudeau government.
The incident complicated Trudeau’s efforts at the time to convince India that Canada stands firm against extremism and does not back Sikh separatism, or the violence that has been employed by some to pursue it.
Daniel Jean, Trudeau’s national security adviser, will on Monday tell a House of Commons committee about comments he made to media in an off-the-record briefing as the controversy unfolded.
Jean suggested to journalists Atwal’s appearance was somehow orchestrated by rogue political elements in India to compel Trudeau to crack down on Sikh extremists in Canada.
Atwal maintains that he is not an agent of the Indian government, has reformed and regrets his youthful actions. He said he would like to clear the air before the parliamentary committee.
Liberal Surrey Centre MP Randeep Sarai said he was the one who submitted Atwal’s name to the High Commissioner to be added to the guest list for the dinner-reception. The Vancouver-born Sarai was one of 14 Liberal MPs travelling with Trudeau on the official visit.