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Indo-Canadian Community Worried About Release of Indian-Origin 'Gangster

Photo: Instagram/Arandeep Thind

The release of Arundeep Thind, an Indian-origin individual accused of being an alleged gangster arrested for making extortion calls in Canada, has raised concerns within the Indo-Canadian community. Thind, 39, was apprehended and charged with making extortion threats against South Asian businesses in Canada. Following his release after spending two weeks in custody, Thind posted a chilling message, 'Putt bach ke,' aimed at his alleged targets.

Brampton City Councillor Gurpartap Singh Toor expressed community apprehension over Thind's release. Despite his claims of innocence, Thind asserted that the police were unfairly portraying him as a high-level gangster. Thind was one of five individuals of Punjabi origin whose arrests were disclosed by Peel Regional Police's extortion task force on February 8. The charges against them included extortion, firearm possession, and fraud.

Thind, specifically charged with extortion related to an incident on January 26, was released on bail. He has reached out to Canadian media, vehemently denying any criminal involvement. In an interview with CTV News, Thind, a music producer, emphasized the impact on his family, asserting that the media and police had portrayed him as a criminal, despite him being innocent.

Thind's social media posts featuring a gun were clarified as old footage from a music video shoot, where the gun was not real. Despite admitting to a domestic incident charge, Thind maintains his innocence concerning organized crime and extortion.

Thind explained that he became involved after a friend, who owned a restaurant targeted by extortionists, gave him a phone number just before his arrest. He called the harassers and was coerced into going to a car dealership to ask for an extortion payment on their behalf. Police intervened, resulting in his arrest.

Thind claimed victimization, stating that he had no connection with the other four individuals charged by Peel Police. The Peel Regional Police's extortion task force is investigating 29 cases, including nine involving shootings at South Asian-owned businesses. Thind's release, subsequent warning, and alleged involvement in extortion cases have left the Indo-Canadian community fearful.

Brampton City Councillor Gurpartap Singh Toor highlighted the need for changes in the bail system, expressing concern over public safety erosion. Peel Regional Police Chief Nishan Duraiappah emphasized the complexity of these crimes, involving coercion of businesses through phone calls or social media for cash payments, with ongoing investigations into multiple cases.

Feb. 20, 2024 5:09 p.m. 1318

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