The former Indian Army officer sneaked into the U.S. in 2004
Avtar Singh, the former Indian Army officer accused of killing Kashmiri human rights activist Jaleel Andrabi, had sneaked into the United States after Canada denied his asylum plea.
He fled to Canada from India in 2003. Canadian authorities let Indian officials know Avtar was living in Canada in 2004, according to court documents shown to the Associated Press.
The Singhs lived in Canada with relatives for two years and applied for asylum. But their claim was denied, documents provided by Avtar's immigration consultant in the U.S. show. After his cover was blown, Avtar and his family illegally crossed into the U.S. and settled in Fresno County, where he sought asylum in 2011.
“He told me: ‘My job in India was to eliminate terrorists who were against the Indian government. I was good at that, they never found the bodies when I did it,'” said Stephens, Avtar's immigration consultant.
In his application, Mr. Singh said he did not kill Andrabi, saying that he knew the culprit. “I am being made a scapegoat,” he said, adding that he would be killed if he returned to India.
He initially settled in California, working at a truck wash and at a sandwich shop. He eventually started his own truck business, owning five tractors and trailers, which he named Jay Truck Lines after his third son, a U.S. citizen.
“He was so nice with everyone, with our community. And he was very good to his wife and children,” said Balvir Singh Grewal, who worked as a driver for Mr. Singh. “I never saw him angry.”
After Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) had received an anonymous letter in 2007 saying that Avtar may have committed fraud to obtain legal status in the U.S., immigration agents in Iowa detained him, said ICE spokesperson Virginia Kice.
Avtar killed his wife and two sons and grievously injured another son, before turning the gun on himself last week in Fresno County in California.