Who Is Pavan Kumar Rai? Indian Diplomat & R&AW Station Chief Expelled By Canadian Government

Who Is Pavan Kumar Rai? Indian Diplomat & R&AW Station Chief Expelled By Canadian Government

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has accused the Indian government of being involved in the killing of a Canadian citizen, Hardeep Singh Nijjar.

FPJ Web DeskUpdated: Tuesday, September 19, 2023, 03:01 PM IST
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Who Is Pavan Kumar Rai? Indian Diplomat Expelled By Canadian Government Over Death Of Khalistani Leader Hardeep Singh Nijjar | File

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has accused the Indian government of being involved in the killing of a Canadian citizen, Hardeep Singh Nijjar. In response to this incident, the Canadian government has expelled Indian Diplomat Pavan Kumar Rai.

Hardeep Singh Nijjar, the Canadian citizen in question, was fatally shot in June of this year. Nijjar had been an outspoken supporter of the separatist ideology of Khalistan, which advocates for the secession of the state of Punjab from India.

Pavan Kumar Rai

According to the Indian Express, Rai is a senior Indian Police Service (IPS) officer belonging to the 1997 Punjab cadre and had previously played a key role in combating drug-related issues in the state of Punjab before opting for a central deputation in 2010. He had held positions such as the senior superintendent of police (SSP) in Jalandhar and Amritsar during the late 2000s. On January 31, he was promoted to the rank of additional director general of police (ADGP) by the Punjab Government, along with seven other IPS officers.

Rai was station chief of India's intelligence agency Research and Analysis Wing (R&AW) in Canada. He was expelled from the country amid an investigation into what authorities deemed "credible allegations" of a possible connection between the Indian government and the killing of Hardeep Singh Nijjar.

The Indian Express also reported that Rai, aged 53, had a close professional relationship with former R&AW chief Samant Kumar Goel, who also hails from the Punjab cadre of the Indian Police Service. Rai's expertise and experience eventually led to his empanelment for the position of joint secretary or equivalent at the central level in 2018.

The Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) had officially announced Rai's appointment in the same year, stating, "The Appointments Committee of the Cabinet has approved the proposal of Ministry of External Affairs for appointment of Shri Pavan Kumar Rai, IPS (PB:1997) as Joint Secretary (Personnel), Ministry of External Affairs for a period of three years from the date of assumption of charge of the post."

India denies claims

The Indian government has denied the “absurd” accusations. In the statement, the MEA said, "Such unsubstantiated allegations seek to shift the focus from Khalistani terrorists and extremists, who have been provided shelter in Canada and continue to threaten India's sovereignty and territorial integrity".

"The inaction of the Canadian government on this matter has been a long-standing and continuing concern. That Canadian political figures have openly expressed sympathy for such elements remains a matter of deep concern. The space given in Canada to a range of illegal activities including murders, human trafficking and organised crime is not new. We reject any attempts to connect Government of India to such developments. We urge the Government of Canada to take prompt and effective legal action against all anti-India elements operating from their soil," the MEA added. 

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