Former B.C. Liberal government aides charged
Two former aides of B.C. government ministers are facing multiple charges in connection with a breach-of-trust investigation that led the RCMP to raid offices in the provincial legislature one year ago.
- FROM DEC. 28, 2003: Police raid offices of 2 B.C. ministers
David Basi and his brother-in-law Robert Virk are accused of six charges: three counts of fraud on the government, two counts of fraud and one count of breach of trust by a public officer.
- INDEPTH: B.C. Raids
The B.C. criminal justice branch announced the charges on Tuesday.
|* Coverage from CBC News British Columbia|
The charges against Basi and Virk are related to the privatization of B.C. Rail, on which they worked.
They are accused of demanding or accepting benefits including money, meals, and travel and employment opportunities in connection with the bidding process for the railway company.
They are charged jointly with two counts of fraud of more than $5,000 in connection with the privatization, and are also accused putting at risk the bidding process for B.C. Rail by leaking confidential information to interested parties.
A third government employee was also charged, and has been suspended. Aneal Basi, a public affairs officer on leave from the B.C. Ministry of Transportation, was charged with one count of fraud and one count of breach of trust by a public officer.
Court documents allege that he laundered money accepted by David Basi.
The men deny any wrongdoing. All three are free on bail and will appear in court next month.
"We believe these allegations are unfounded. Mr. [David] Basi will be vigorously defending these charges," said Basi's lawyer Michael Bolton.
Following the raids on the offices in the B.C. legislature last Dec. 28, Basi was fired early in 2004 from his job as an aide to former finance minister Gary Collins, and Virk â an aide to former transportation minister Judith Reid â was suspended with pay.
Collins resigned last week, and took up a private sector job. He denied the move had anything to do with the investigation. Reid was demoted to the back benches soon after the affair came to light.
David Basi and Virk were Young Liberals together at the University of Victoria. They and their associates later became known as "Basi's Boys," campaigning for Prime Minister Paul Martin's leadership bid in British Columbia's Indo-Canadian community.
The 2003 raids grew out of a separate police drug investigation. Basi also faces drug charges involving marijuana, and is scheduled to make a court appearance in Victoria on Jan. 26 to enter a plea on the drug charges.
- FROM OCT. 28, 2004: Former B.C. Liberal aide faces drug charges
How all the different parts of the case fit together has been shrouded in judicial secrecy. But in recent months, some details of the joint RCMP and Victoria Police Department investigation called "Operation Everywhichway" have come to light.