Former Sikh Official Arrested for Plotting to Hire Hitmen To Kill Gurdwara Members, Burn Down the Property in California

Team Parvasi – Inside

Rajvir “Raj” Singh Gill, 60, a former Bakersfield City Council candidate, was arrested for allegedly trying to hire hitmen to shoot members of one of Bakersfield’s largest gurdwaras. The Sikh official from California was arrested last weekend and according to reports, has since been released.

A former Sikh Bakersfield City Council named Rajvir “Raj” Singh Gill was taken into custody for allegedly trying to hire hitmen to shoot members of Shaheed Baba Deep Singh Ji Khalsa Darbar and burn down the property in Bakersfield, California. He was on a temporary restraining order for harassing the temple and was arrested on Saturday. Gill was accused of six counts of solicitation to commit a criminal act. According to reports, he has since been released from jail.

Gurdwara elder Sukhwinder Singh Ranghi shared that Gill offered $10,000 USD to two Hispanic men to kill select leaders of the congregation who are involved in the court cases. Gill reportedly drove the two men around pointing out the houses of the leaders he wanted to be hit. One of the associates of the hitmen informed the gurdwara’s leadership about these plans.

Gill was also accused of intending to burn down the property as according to Ranghi, he instructed the men on how they could exploit faulty electrical wiring that had been installed by his own workers back when the temple was built.

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Reportedly, Gill had been showing up at the property and disrupting prayers and threatening the people present. On one such occasion, Gill was allegedly arrested for carrying a gun but there doesn’t seem to be a prior record of arrest for Gill, according to the report.

According to Ranghi, the dispute was over more than $800,000 USD that was contributed by members of the congregation to reimburse a corporate entity that was to buy the gurdwara out and save it from foreclosure in July 2020. “It’s the greed that most likely got to him,” Ranghi added.

In the last Ward 7 election in November, Gill had won less than 7 percent of the vote. Manpreet Kaur, a City Councilwoman who won last fall’s election said that she was aware of the restraining order but unclear on the details of the dispute. “It’s really heartbreaking. It is. It’s frightening and I’m just hoping the community stays safe,” she said, according to a report.

Vineet Washington

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