NRI killed wife, partner for insurance claim
By FAISAL KUTTY
TORONTO, ONTARIO – On September 11, at a court in Hamilton, the trial of a bizarre murder case began. The story is of multiple murders and serial marriages in two countries, hundreds of miles apart. The accused is an Indian emigrant from Punjab, Sukhwinder Singh Dhillon.
The Crown’s attorney, Brent Bentham, alleges that Dhillon poisoned his wife and a business associate to collect insurance proceeds. The court also heard that Dhillon poisoned to death another wife in Punjab, but he is not on trial for this alleged murder.
Dhillon came to Canada in 1981 from Ludhiana and married Parvesh Kaur in 1983 back in Punjab and they lived together until her death in 1995. Parvesh fell ill on January 30, 1995, went into a coma and died four days later in hospital.
The coroner was unable to establish the cause of death. Bentham told the jury: “The death of Parvesh Dhillon was considered a mystery. That mystery, the Crown contends, has since been solved by science.”
Nothing much was thought at the time and Dhillon filed an insuranceclaim the next business day. The 46-year-old collected morethan $215,000 in insurance proceeds and also got $83,000 in loanspaid off.
The court was told that the newly single and wealthy, Dhillon traveled to India and married 21-year-old Sarabjit Kaur Brar within nine weeks of his wife’s death. Dhillon allegedly travelled to another village and married yet again. The new bride Kushwinderpreet Kaur, 23, had no knowledge of hisearlier marriages. Bentham alleges that both women remained in Indiaexpecting to be sponsored, while the groom returned to Canada. The father of the two brides began immigration proceedings.
Dhillon returned to India in late 1995 and visited Brar in hospital where she had just given birth to their twin boys. The Crown attorney told the attentive seven-men, five-women jury that Dhillon killed Brar by poisoning her with strychnine, derived from a plant found in India.
Dhillon allegedly gave her the poison claiming that it was medicationto help her with her immigration medical examination. Brar took the medication against the wishes of her parents. “He did that, members of the jury, in order to be free to sponsor his soon-to-be fourth wife to come to Canada,” said Bentham.
The jury also heard that within 16 days of Brar’s funeral, Dhillon married his fourth wife, 26-year-old Sukhwinder Kaur Grewal of Ludhiana. Soon, he returned to Canada in March 1996 and sponsored Grewal in lieu of the deceased Brar. By then the parents of Brar and the other wife, Kushwinderpreet Kaur, got wind of the situation and notified Canadian authorities. His application for Grewal was rejected.
None of this would have come out had it not been for the death of Ranjit Singh Khela. Khela, 25, came to Canada in 1993 and became abusiness partner in Dhillon’s used-car business. The young manreportedly trusted and respected Dhillon and referred to him as “uncle.” In May 1996, Bentham alleges, Khela and Dhillon tookout insurance policies with each other as beneficiaries for $100,000. The policy contained a clause that would double the amountin the event of accidental death.
Bentham told the court that sometime in June Khela’s body went stiffand he died in hospital. He had reportedly said that he had taken a pill given to him by Dhillon who told him that it was “good for backache and good for sex.”
After Khela’s death the same insurance investigator went to meet Dhillon and found it unusual that in both cases there was no explanation for the death. A reexamination of Parvesh Dhillon’s tissue discovered evidence of strychnine poisoning.
A global police investigation followed resulting in two charges of murder being laid in Canada in October 1997. Dhillon has been in custody since then.
Note: First Published: Tuesday, September 19, 2000 Express India
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