Mia Rabson, Canadian Press
OTTAWA – Former Liberal MP Raj Grewal sent the names of 100 people he wanted to invite to receptions with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau in India in 2018, and no one on his list raised red flags with staff. by Mr. Trudeau, before the trip took place, we learned Monday in a courtroom in Ottawa.
Raj Grewal, 36, faces two allegations of breach of trust, related to loans he sought from friends, family and other employees to help pay off a multi-million dollar debt raised due to a gambling problem.
These accusations claim that Mr Grewal, who used his political office, lied to obtain loans and that he used his office to obtain loans for personal gain.
Mr. Grewal denied any fraudulent play. In 2018, he said he sought treatment for a gambling addiction and only got loans from friends and family, adding that everything was paid back.
The Crown claims that Mr Grewal sought loans from people in return to secure them access to travel to India or work on immigration cases.
Sir. Grewal was elected in 2015 from the riding of Brampton, Ont., But split from the Liberals in 2018 when the gambling problem emerged. He sat as an independent for almost a year, but did not run as a candidate in the 2019 federal election.
He was originally charged by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) in September 2020 with four counts of breach of trust and one charge of fraud, but only two of the breach of trust remain.
On Monday, as the trial entered its second week, Crown Attorney Tim Wightman presented a former Liberal politician with emails and documents outlining the process by which MPs could invite people to events during the trip to India.
Vandana Kattar Miller, who in 2018 was Senior Assistant to Innovation Minister Navdeep Bains, served as the liaison between the PMO and Liberal MPs who wanted to go on tour in India in February 2018.
The nine-day trip was stoned when Indian politicians accused Mr Trudeau of sympathizing with Sikh separatist extremists. The trip went completely off track when it was revealed that invitations to two receptions with Justin Trudeau had been sent to a man affiliated with Sikh extremists. The man was convicted in Canada of attempting to assassinate an Indian politician in 1986.
But in court, the crown is focused on the people Mr Grewal has put on the guest list.
Kattar Miller said there were two major receptions – one in Delhi and one in Mumbai – and MPs who wanted to attend could submit the names of people they wanted to invite to the receptions.
More than a dozen Liberal MPs joined the tour, and their guest list spans 12 pages. Mr. Grewal’s first list contained 100 names.
Ms. Kattar Miller said there was also a more intimate meeting with Mr. Trudeau in Delhi, to which MPs could invite up to five people. This event gave guests the opportunity to meet Mr. Trudeau and have their picture taken with him.
During cross-examination, Mr Grewal’s defense counsel confirmed with Kattar Miller that MPs could submit as many names as they wanted to the invitation list and that there were no restrictions on who could be invited.
She also confirmed to him that she had made a “high-level” review of the names submitted and that none of them sounded the alarm. “I do not remember anything,” she said.
The trial is expected to last until the end of July.