Vancouver man has travelled to India 56 times in his fight to solve mother’s murder

Published: January 17, 2013


Sanjay Goel holds on to his murdered mother’s picture in this file photo. Goel says he’s been back and forth to India 56 times in his efforts to solve her murder. Sam Leung/PNG files

Sanjay Goel has been stuck in “limbo” since his mother was brutally murdered in India nearly 10 years ago.

The Vancouver businessman has been waiting for justice and answers since August 2003, when Dr. Asha Goel — a Canadian citizen — was found stabbed, bludgeoned and smothered in her brother’s apartment on the Arabian Sea.

His mother was the chief obstetrician at the Headwaters Health Centre in Orangeville, Ont., when she travelled to Mumbai to visit her sick brother, Suresh Agrawal.

Indian investigators alleged that Suresh conspired with his brother in Ottawa, Subhash Agrawal, and four other men to kill their 62-year-old sister over a disputed inheritance worth as much as $12 million.

Suresh has since died of kidney failure, but Subhash — who became a Canadian citizen two years after the murder — remains at large in Ottawa.

Just after the nine-year anniversary of his mother’s death, Sanjay was given a glimmer of hope: In an October 2012 interview with the CBC, a former Ottawa officer said his superiors instructed him not to conduct an official investigation in 2003 — so Ottawa police reopened their case for review Oct. 19, 2012. But that glimmer of hope has since been snuffed out.

“They’ve had now 10 weeks or more — and there’s still no decision,” Sanjay told Vancouver Desi. “They’ve created kind of a limbo… they’re just going to hope it goes away.

“It’s a very frustrating thing.”

Ottawa police declined comment because the investigation is ongoing.

But according to Sanjay, he’s continually “promised action,” and nothing ever comes of it.

“Neither my father nor I have really had a chance to go through the … steps of grieving,” said Sanjay.

He spends his days searching for answers and is on the phone with Indian officials at 4:30 a.m. many mornings. He’s travelled back and forth to India 56 times since the murder and is set to take off again in February.

“The Indian police in their exhaustive exam have come to the conclusion that … Subhash Agrawal is a person who organized and ordered this heinous crime,” Sanjay alleges. “They’ve summoned him on more than one occasion to come to India, which he’s refused to do, so how much more can we do?”

Without any help from the Canadian government, Sanjay is left going over every detail and asking question after question.

“He lives in Ottawa – in the nation’s capital,” he said. “And nothing’s been done — nobody’s even bothered to interview him at this point. How is this possible?”

But according to an emailed statement from the Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade, the government isn’t responsible for an investigation.

“The local authorities who have jurisdiction in the case are responsible for investigative and judiciary processes in India,” DFAIT wrote.

And while the department declined comment on specific details of the Goel case due to privacy reasons, they said “we provided consular services and were in regular communications with the family.”

But according to Sanjay, this is “completely inaccurate.”

“We let our citizens just anguish and tell them it’s an Indian problem,” he said. “Why aren’t they pursuing justice of one of their citizens?”

For now, Sanjay is left hoping Ottawa police will realize the need for a proper investigation.

“How can they come to any other conclusion than it needs to be investigated?” he asked.

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