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Jaspal Atwal wants to testify before committee about Trudeau's India trip

Jaspal Atwal wants to testify before committee about Trudeau's India trip
From CBC - April 13, 2018

The man at the centre of the prime minister's trouble-plaguedtrip to India says he wants to testify before a parliamentary committeejust as MPs prepare to hear from Trudeau's own national security adviser about what went wrong on the visit.

During Trudeau's official trip to India in February,Jaspal Atwala Canadian of Indian descent who was convicted of attempted murder for trying to assassinate Indian cabinet ministerMalkiatSinghSidhuwhile 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 complicatedTrudeau's efforts at the time to convince Indiathat 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 mediain 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 downon Sikh extremists in Canada.

Atwal maintains that he is not an agent of the Indian government, hasreformed and regrets his youthful actions. He said he would like to clear the air before the parliamentary committee.

"I am seeing all this circus going around, sick and tired with that, and I want to tell the truth," said Atwal. "I want to come to committee and they can ask me any question they want.

"They can [use a] lie detector or they can ask [me] under oath. I have no problem with that."

After CBC News published the photos and reported that Atwal had managed to get himself invited to events in India with the Trudeaus, his invitation was withdrawn.

"The individual in question never should have received an invitation and, as soon as we found out, we rescinded the invitation immediately," Trudeau told reporters after the news broke. "The member of Parliament who included this individual has, and will, assume full responsibility for his actions."

Liberal SurreyCentre MPRandeepSaraisaid he was the one who submittedAtwal'sname to the High Commissioner to be added to the guest listfor the dinner-reception. The Vancouver-bornSaraiwas one of 14 LiberalMPstravelling with Trudeau onthe official visit.

Once the media reports about Jean's off-the-record briefing surfaced, the Conservatives accused the Liberals of trying to shift the blame for the affair onto Indian officials to avoid accepting responsibility for having invited Atwalthemselves.

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