British Columbia

Jaspal Atwal denies making threats against radio host

Court documents show Jaspal Atwal — the man at the centre of a controversy surrounding the prime minister's trip to India — was charged last month with threatening Gurvinder Singh Dhaliwal, host of a daily Punjabi-language talk show.

Documents claim that man at centre of controversy in PM's India trip threatened to cause death or bodily harm

Jaspal Atwal "vehemently denies" threatening talk show host Gurvinder Singh Dhaliwal, according to his lawyer. (Jonathan Hayward/Canadian Press)

The man at the centre of a controversy surrounding the prime minister's trip to India "vehemently denies" threatening a B.C. radio host, according to his lawyer.

Court documents show Jaspal Atwal was charged last month with threatening Gurvinder Singh Dhaliwal, host of a daily Punjabi-language talk show broadcast online by Media Waves Communications.

Atwal made headlines during Justin Trudeau's February trip to India, when he showed up at an official event despite a previous conviction for trying to assassinate an Indian cabinet minister during a trip to Vancouver Island in 1986.

His lawyer, Marvin Stern, says Atwal denies threatening the radio host.

"There was a conversation between the two of them in the parking lot of the radio station in question," Stern said.

"But there were no threats issued by Mr. Atwal whatsoever."

No contact orders

The incident allegedly occurred on April 23. In information sworn two days later, Atwal was charged with uttering or conveying a threat to cause death or bodily harm to Dhaliwal. 

The 62-year-old was released last month on $1,000 bail with conditions that include having no contact with any employees of Media Waves, a company that claims to broadcast to 300,000 South Asians in Canada.

Gurvinder Singh Dhaliwal is the host of a daily Punjabi-language talk show on Media Waves. (Twitter)

He is allowed to have written communication with station owner Ashiana Khan.

Atwal must also have no contact with Dhaliwal or any members of his immediate family.

Stern would not elaborate on the subject of the conversation between Atwal and Shaliwal.

He also refused to provide any detail on Atwal's involvement with Media Waves. He said Atwal wants the matter to go to trial.

Atwal's next scheduled court appearance is May 24.

During Trudeau's visit to India, Atwal also received an invitation to an event at the Canadian High Commission in Delhi.

Photos of Atwal posing with a Liberal cabinet minister and Trudeau's wife, Sophie Grégoire 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 that continued in the House of Commons for weeks.

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