British Columbia

Disgraced B.C. aide claims 'clear conscience'

Disgraced former B.C. government aide Dave Basi says he has a clear conscience, despite his guilty pleas this week to corruption charges in the BC Rail trial.

Aides under house arrest

BC

11 years ago
1:55
Former B.C. government aides Dave Basi and Bob Virk are under house arrest but can leave for several reasons, the CBC's Belle Puri reports 1:55

Disgraced former B.C. government aide Dave Basi says he has a clear conscience, despite his guilty pleas to corruption charges in the BC Rail trial this week.

Dave Basi says he can sleep at night despite his guilty plea to corruption charges. ((CBC))
Basi and fellow aide Bob Virk pleaded guilty Monday in B.C. Supreme Court to breach of trust and accepting benefits while arranging deregulation of a plot of land for a real estate development near Sooke, on Vancouver Island.

Charges related to the sale of the provincial government railway were stayed.

Basi acknowledges the change of plea was difficult after years of claiming he was not guilty.

"It was very hard to agree to that. After seven years of saying you're not guilty, not guilty," Basi told CBC News on Tuesday. "But you come to the realization that this is not going to end.… My  son was three when this started. My daughter was eight. Now they are 15 and … 10."

But he said he could still sleep at night.

CN won bid

"Deep inside, I have a clear conscience," Basi said. "I go to sleep with a clear conscience ... I wake up with a clear conscience."

Basi and Virk, both politically appointed officials, were accused of passing on government secrets around the privatization of BC Rail in exchange for cash, restaurant meals and a trip between April 2002 and December 2003.

CN won the bid, purchasing the railway for $1 billion after Canadian Pacific Railway pulled out of the competition, saying it was obvious that CN had benefited from inside information during the bidding process.

Some charges dropped

The Basi and Virk plea bargains surfaced after a special prosecutor approached his lawyer, Basi said.

He said that with a realization the trial would go on for years, they changed their pleas and the deal was worked out.

Basi and Virk were each sentenced to two years of house arrest, which effectively limits their movements only between 11 p.m. and 6 a.m. Basi was also fined $75,000.

Their legal bills, estimated to be at least $6 million, will be picked up by the Liberal government.

Charges of money-laundering laid against Basi's cousin, Aneal Basi, were stayed.

With files from the CBC's Terry Donnelly

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