TORONTO: Ethics issues have felled another Indo-Canadian politician.
On Friday, former Liberal MP Sukh Dhaliwal from British Columbia had to resign as the Liberal candidate in the provincial Surrey-Panorama Ridge riding as he faces charges of tax evasion.
If convicted, he faces one year in jail or a maximum fine of $25,000.
Dhaliwal’s ouster from the poll fray comes two days after a Vancouver daily revealed that the former Indo-Canadian MP was being investigated for not filing tax returns for his company Genco Consultants Inc. from 2004 to 2010.
Dhaliwal runs the company with his wife Roni Dhaliwal. The couple had registered the company in Nov 1999.
In all, Dhaliwal faces 14 charges under the Income Tax Act.
Dhaliwal is the president of the company and his wife a director. They also run Dhaliwal and Associates which was listed in 2002.
After the publication of the news on Wednesday, Dhaliwal had denied tax irregularities, saying that he was cooperating with the tax authorities in investigations against him.
The tax evasion charges were filed against him in November, but Dhaliwal didn’t tell his Liberal Party – which is also the ruling party in British Columbia – till Wednesday about the pending investigations against him.
Dhaliwal came to Canada in 1984 from Sujapur in Ludhiana district of Punjab. He was very active in the local municipal politics in Surrey where most Indo-Canadians live.
He remained an MP for the Liberal Party from 2006 to 2011 when he was defeated by another Indo-Canadian Jinny Sims of the New Democratic Party (NDP).
Dhaliwal had created a controversy in 2008 when he, as an MP, had written a letter to a California court in support of an Indo-Canadian drug dealer named Ranjit Cheema. Cheema was part of an international gang that had tried to smuggle 200 kg of heroin from Pakistan into the US. Cheema was later jailed for five years.
As an MP, he was also instrumental in moving a resolution in the Canadian parliament in 2010 to ask Canada to declare the 1984 anti-Sikh riots as `genocide.’