Saturday, May 14, 2005

May 14 2005 Edmonton Journal: MP Accused of Taking Cash For Visas - Denies Wrong Doing

MPs accused of taking cash for visas: Pair of Tories deny immigration minister's claims of wrongdoing
Edmonton Journal
May 14, 2005
Page: A15
Section: News
Dateline: TORONTO
Source: The Canadian Press TORONTO -- The federal immigration minister has asked the RCMP and federal ethics commissioner to investigate two Conservative MPs, CTV News reported Friday from Ottawa. Joe Volpe alleges Alberta MP Deepak Obhrai and Gurmant Grewal of Surrey, B.C., offered to aid immigrants in return for money. Volpe wants the RCMP to investigate allegations Obhrai accepted $20,000 from his estranged brother-in-law to help him get into Canada, CTV News said. "I had some information that came to my hands and I handed it off to the same authorities," Volpe said. The allegations are false, Obhrai said, and accused the minister of exploiting family tragedy for political gain. The man, who has since returned to India, is married to the sister of Obhrai's wife and has a restraining order against him in Canada for allegedly beating his wife and family. "The bottom line is that (the brother-in-law) is making this allegation so that he wants my sister-in-law to come back (to him)," Obhrai told CTV News. The man's estranged wife, who met with the ethics commissioner on Friday, told CTV News her husband fabricated the story. "It is all a lie," Laxmi Anand told CTV News. "My brother-in-law (Obhrai) didn't take any money from us." Volpe also claimed that Grewal
asked his B.C. constituents to post bonds of up to $100,000 in exchange for his help in obtaining temporary visas. "I just left them off to the ethics commissioner and the RCMP for them to deal with it and I'll leave it at that," Volpe told CTV News. Grewal denies the allegations. "Money is not a factor at all. No one has been asked to pay any or deposit any money anywhere," he told CTV News. Tory campaign chair John Reynolds said the Liberals are using the police to smear the party. "I'm absolutely ashamed that a minister of this government would go against other MPs, bringing in the RCMP, wasting taxpayers' dollars," Reynolds said.