India has used disinformation and money to influence politicians in Canada into supporting New Delhi’s overseas interests, reported Canadian publication Global News
The report states that India's premier intelligence agency, the Research Analysis Wing (RAW), and the Indian Intelligence Bureau (IB) were behind the operation which started in 2009.
Canadian security officials suspected that Indian intelligence had asked an Indian national to influence politicians in the country into supporting the government in New Delhi, added the report.
Public Safety Minister Bill Blair's office refused to comment on the matter when approached by the publication, but said the government was "concerned when any country shows destabilising behaviour, including interference in other countries' democratic systems."
Foreign Interference: Canada accuses #India's intelligence agencies of targeting Canadian politicians in covert influence operation involving $, w/expert commentary from @StephanieCarvin https://t.co/5YFKDqG945 pic.twitter.com/aeposDNqPi— Stewart Bell (@StewGlobal) April 17, 2020
The suspect arrested in connection - also referred to as 'A.B' in court records - is the editor-in-chief on an unnamed Indian newspaper. His wife and son are Canadian citizens.
A.B allegedly met Indian intelligence agencies over a dozen times in six years but claimed it was only in a professional capacity.
"You stated that you were tasked by RAW to covertly influence Canadian government representatives and agencies on behalf of the Indian government," said a letter sent to him by an immigration official.
"You stated that you were told to identify random Caucasian politicians and attempt to direct them into supporting issues that impacted India. You stated that the guidance from RAW included that you were to provide financial assistance and propaganda material to politicians in order to exert influence over them."
The suspect did not accept or deny that he was asked by the Indian agencies to perform various functions but said he refused to work for them.
One of his assigned tasks was to "convince politicians that funding from Canada was being sent to Pakistan to support terrorism".
The Canadian publication further stated, according to court documents seen, that the suspect did acknowledge that he was tasked by Indian intelligence to “perform various functions” and act as an “unofficial lobbyist or diplomat”, even though he had claimed that he had refused to work for India's intelligence apparatus.