Ninderjit Singh’s long run from the law following slaying of his ex-girlfriend in Vancouver

Published: March 24, 2013

KEITH FRASER
VANCOUVER DESI

Ninderjit Singh has admitted to murdering Poonam Randhawa in 1999 and his pre-sentence hearing begins on Wednesday in Vancouver.

Ninderjit Singh has admitted to murdering Poonam Randhawa in 1999 and his pre-sentence hearing begins on Wednesday in Vancouver. Submitted photo

It took a cross-border undercover operation targeting a half-brother of Ninderjit Singh to bring Singh to justice 12 years after murdering beautiful Vancouver teen Poonam Randhawa.

Singh’s lawyer, Russ Chamberlain, told  Vancouver Desi that a Mr. Big RCMP operation was commenced against the 35-year-old killer in the summer of 2011.

Singh has admitted to shooting Randhawa to death in a car in Kerrisdale in January, 1999, after she rejected him. Singh had been in a relationship with Randhawa and fled the day of the killing to Seattle and then into California. His pre-sentence hearing starts in Vancouver on Wednesday.

Chamberlain said he understands the so-called Mr. Big operation, in which police pose as members of a criminal organization, was aimed at a half-brother of Singh who lived in Calgary.

Police acted as though they needed to know how to obliterate fingerprints and talked the brother into using a cell phone they gave him.

The operation moved from Calgary to Las Vegas, where the half brother used the phone to contact Singh.

“This half-brother contacted my client,” said Chamberlain. “Police were able to pick up where (Singh) was.”

By that time Singh was married with two children and had become a master of disguise and relocation.

After the murder, Singh assumed a false identity and changed appearance by growing overweight and wearing a large beard.

Poonam Randhawa

A grad photo of Poonam Randhawa, who was shot to death by Ninderjit Singh before he fled to the U.S. and spent 12 years as a fugitive. Jason Payne/ PNG files

Singh also went by the surname Soos and was featured on the America’s Most Wanted TV show shortly after Randhawa’s death.

Several times police closed in on him but he always gave them the slip.

In April 2000, police had information that placed Singh in an apartment in San Jose, Calif. Singh moved out a few days before two homicide detectives reached the location.

Early on in the investigation, Vancouver police suspected that members of Singh’s family knew where he was but were refusing to help.

“We’ve hit a brick wall because they won’t say anything,” said one cop at the time. “It’s been our biggest stumbling block so far.”

Despite the intense media coverage and an ongoing police investigation, the case appeared to go cold.

Then police decided on the undercover operation.

Police are refusing to discuss the operation out of concern that revealing details might jeopardize future investigations.

However, Chamberlain said Singh was out driving with his wife and two children when he was arrested in August 2011 and that it was a “hard take down,” with a number of cops with guns drawn and shotguns.

Police got fingerprints from Singh and confirmed that he was their man.

At the time, Singh was an owner-operator of a truck and living in a five-bedroom home in San Jacinto, one of the oldest cities in Riverside County, with a population of 44,000.

It was the first time Singh’s wife learned her husband was wanted for murder, said Chamberlain.

“She still stands behind this guy, the father of her children. She is going to provide evidence he was a wonderful father, a wonderful husband,” he said.

“He was involved, when he wasn’t working, in various charity work and donations to their church. A different guy to the person who committed this murder.”

Several of Randhawa’s family are expected to give victim impact statements at Singh’s sentencing hearing Wednesday,

Singh was initially charged with first-degree murder but pleaded guilty to second-degree murder, which carries a mandatory sentence of life in prison with a minimum of 10 years and a maximum of 25 years of parole ineligibility.

Chamberlain said he would be seeking the minimum of 10 years, adding that his client will be deported back to India whenever he is released.

kfraser@theprovince.com
twitter.com/keithrfraser 

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