Simran Preet Panesar

A 31-year-old Indian-origin former Air Canada manager wanted in connection with Canada’s largest gold and cash heist worth CAD 22.5 million ( 136 crore) is preparing to surrender in the next few weeks, his lawyer has said, according to a report on Saturday.

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Simran Preet Panesar, wanted in the brazen multimillion-dollar gold heist at Toronto’s Pearson International Airport last year, is “very confident in the Canadian justice system,” his lawyer, Greg Lafontaine said in a statement to Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC) News.

“When this prosecution is over, he will have been absolved of any wrongdoing,” the report quoted him as saying.

On April 17, 2023, an air cargo container carrying more than 22 million Canadian dollars worth of gold bars and foreign currency was stolen from a secure storage facility using fake paperwork, according to the police.

The gold and currency had arrived on an Air Canada flight from Zurich, Switzerland, to Pearson International Airport in Toronto. Shortly after the flight’s landing, the cargo was offloaded and transported to a separate location on airport property. It was reported missing to the police a day later.

Police have arrested six people involved in the theft, including Indian-origin people.

Canada-wide warrants were also issued for Panesar, from Brampton, who was also an Air Canada employee at the time of the theft.

Lawyer Lafontaine said Panesar retained him as soon as he learned he was wanted on charges in Canada, according to the report. The lawyer then contacted police and the Crown prosecutor to tell them Panesar planned to return voluntarily to Canada in the next few weeks.

On May 6, 2024, investigators arrested and charged Indian-origin Archit Grover at the airport in Toronto as he flew in from India, according to the police. The police issued a Canada-wide warrant against his arrest earlier in connection with the theft.

In April, two persons of Indian origin – Parmpal Sidhu, 54, and Amit Jalota, 40 – both from Ontario, were arrested in connection with the case along with Ammad Chaudhary, 43, Ali Raza, 37, and Prasath Paramalingam, 35.

Peel Regional Police has said it is “following all investigative leads” to find the remaining suspects.

The stolen cargo contained 6,600 bars of .9999 pure gold, weighing 400 kilograms, valued at over 20 million dollars and Canadian dollars 2.5 million worth in foreign currency.