Tuesday, July 26, 2011


The case below is just an example of the need for immediate reform of they system. More needs to be done to ensure that relationships are genuine and that visas to spouses are given only on a conditional manner for a prudent period of time, as recently proposed.

Toronto News: ‘Runaway groom’ sues estranged wife, government - thestar.com

Runaway groom’ sues estranged wife, government

July 25, 2011

Raveena Aulakh

A 31-year-old man in India is suing the Canada Border Services Agency for $10 million, claiming he was pressured to surrender his permanent resident card, landing documents and to leave Canada.

“I was treated very badly . . . I had no choice but to leave Canada,” Manjit Shahi said in a phone interview from Punjab.

He is also suing his estranged wife, Ashpreet Badwal, Immigration Minister Jason Kenney and two former Liberal MPs.

Shahi is the “runaway groom” whose story ignited a maelstrom about fraudulent marriages in the Toronto area last summer.

It started in 2006 when Shahi, who lived in England at the time, met Badwal online. She travelled to India the following year where they married.

Badwal, who lives in Brampton, is 36, five years older than Shahi, has polio and needs a wheelchair.

On returning to Canada, she filed an application to sponsor her husband in March 2008. The application was rejected because of their age difference and compatibility issues, Badwal told the Star last year.

She hired a high-profile Bay Street law firm to fight her case and won on appeal, spending thousands of dollars in the process.

On June 26, 2010, Shahi got his Canadian visa. Two days later, he was on a British Airways flight to Toronto. Badwal said Shahi fled from the airport and she never saw him.

Shahi has always refuted that, reducing it to a he-said, she-said smackdown.

He voluntarily left Canada in December.

In a notice of motion filed in the Federal Court in Toronto last month, Shahi says Border Services Agency officers handcuffed him and detained him for 10 days but never showed any arrest warrants or charges against him.

Shahi said border agents never told him what evidence they had of misrepresentation or fraud.

He said he lost his job because of the detention and didn’t have any money to fight his case.

“I didn’t have a place to stay, food to eat or money for a lawyer,” said Shahi. “I had no choice but to leave.”

Shahi said his permanent resident card and original landing documents were taken from him on Nov. 24. He is asking they be returned.

Shahi, who has also named former Liberal MPs Gurbax Malhi and Ruby Dhalla in the lawsuit, claims they overstepped their jurisdiction when they wrote letters to the immigration minister asking that Shahi be deported.

“There was an election . . . they (Malhi and Dhalla) wanted to impress the Punjabi votebank and made me a scapegoat,” said Shahi.

There was no comment from either the CBSA or Kenney’s office on Monday. Malhi called the notice of motion “unnecessary harassment.”

The claims have not been proven in court and no statement of defence has been filed.

Meanwhile, Badwal, who is aware of the lawsuit, said she is tired of the continuing saga. “Everything he is saying is false . . . all nonsense. I have had enough of him,” she said.

“I wish I’d never married him.”

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