Friday, June 03, 2005

June 3, 2005: two say it was the Liberals who approached Grewal

Buried within the June 3rd story about the opinion of forensic audio specialist, Randy Dash, quoted in full here, are statements of two men who say that it was the Liberals who approached Grewal, not the other way around.

But the government on Thursday faced another challenge to its credibility after two prominent British Columbia Sikhs told CanWest News Service it was Dosanjh and the Liberals _ later joined by the prime minister's chief of staff Tim Murphy _ who initiated conversations with Grewal.

Hardev Bal and Kushpal Gill said they visited the home of Sudesh Kalia, the man who brokered talks between the two sides, on April 30 and were told the Liberals were looking to lure a Tory MP.

They said Kalia raised the topic during a conversation about growing rumours in the tight-knit Indo-Canadian community that Grewal was up for a Senate posting.

"(Kalia) said 'Ujjal asked me to get somebody across the floor, Gurmant is the guy, so I will talk to him,'" Bal said in an interview.

"I remember his words were in Punjabi," Gill said in a separate interview. "The literal translation is: `Ujjal asked, Bring him to me once.'"

Kalia, who has issued a signed statement supporting Dosanjh's version of events, disputed the allegations, while the Grits questioned why it has taken weeks for someone to question the story. The Liberals contend it was Grewal who approached them looking for a diplomatic posting and a Senate seat for he and his wife, Nina, also a Tory MP.

"The minister gives this no credence whatsoever," Ken Polk, a spokesman for Dosanjh, said of the allegations by the two B.C. men. "It took the Tories two weeks to produce tapes that appear to have been doctored. And it has taken longer to produce people who will dispute the minister and Mr. Kalia."