Home National Jaspal Atwal, man at centre of controversy over Trudeau’s India trip remains a political mystery

Jaspal Atwal, man at centre of controversy over Trudeau’s India trip remains a political mystery

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Senior Canadian officials say Atwal — once convicted of attempted murder of an Indian cabinet minister — was removed from the guest list of a reception with Trudeau in India because he was politically controversial, not because he was a security threat.

Jaspal Atwal, a once-convicted would-be assassin of an Indian cabinet minister, had his invitation to a reception for Prime Minister Justin Trudeau yanked because he was politically controversial, not because he was deemed a security threat, senior officials say.

And yet today, Atwal remains a man of political mystery.

Is he a reformed terrorist? A Liberal party supporter? An equal-opportunity political fixer for a B.C. radio station who has posed with Conservatives and NDP politicians alike?

Those questions remain unanswered days after Atwal’s surprise presence at a prime ministerial event in Mumbai led to his invitation to a second reception being withdrawn — all of it kicking off an international controversy and derailing Trudeau’s visit to India.

A senior government official told the Star the prime minister did not speak Monday to Randeep Sarai, the B.C. Liberal MP who put Atwal on the guest list for the event in India.

Trudeau was not in the Commons, where his public safety minister, Ralph Goodale, deflected a barrage of questions from Conservatives demanding “proof” of suggestions in some media reports that the Liberal government had blamed the Indian government for trying to “sabotage” the Trudeau visit.

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