What we know about the former Vernon man charged in 30-year-old murder case | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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What we know about the former Vernon man charged in 30-year-old murder case

Vernon Courthouse
May 29, 2018 - 6:30 PM

VERNON - A former Vernon man accused of murdering his wife more than 30 years ago openly spoke about killing her while seeking a leadership position with a religious group in California, court documents allege.

Paramjit Singh Bogarh, born in 1961, was recently extradited from the United States to face charges of first degree murder and conspiracy to commit murder in the 1986 killing of his wife, Saminder Kaur Bogarh, in Vernon. His brother, Narinder Singh Bogarh, faces the same charges although he has not been detained in Canada.

The RCMP suspected Bogarh and his brother at the time of Saminder’s brutal stabbing death at her home but the prosecutor was not satisfied that the burden of proof could be met and the charge was stayed, according to court documents filed in the U.S. in support of his arrest and extradition proceedings. 

Eventually, with advances in DNA analysis and the development of further evidence, the Crown determined it could meet its burden of proof in the cold case murder and Bogarh was charged on Jan. 31, 2018, according to records. At the time, however, Bogarh was living in a gated community in California. 

Court documents state that shortly after an unsuccessful custody hearing for his son just a few months after the murder, Bogarh moved to California. A wiretap authorized in Canada intercepted a conversation in which Bogarh allegedly stated he intended to move to the U.S. if he experienced any problems in Canada. He has not been in contact with his son since.

In the late 1990s, while seeking election on the board of directors for a religious group, Bogarh allegedly admitted to the crime.

“He was required to tell the truth in front of those witnesses because it was in the temple in the presence of his holy book. The fact of his involvement in the murder was what was preventing him being approved to be on the executive. When confessing to killing his wife in Canada, he threatened all present that he would do the same to their daughters – a threat that in the Sikh and Punjabi culture has particular significance,” the U.S. government says in court documents.


Around 1983, Saminder’s brother arranged for Bogarh to marry her in Canada. They had a son together and lived in Vernon. Around 1985, Bogarh sponsored his younger brother, Narinder, to immigrate to Canada from India and live with them.

Paramjit allegedly got into arguments with Saminder because he believed her dowry was insufficient. The documents cite witnesses who said Paramjit was violent towards Saminder and once chased her with a knife threatening to kill her.

In 1986, Paramjit bought two mutual life insurance policies in his and Saminder’s names, for $100,000, for which the surviving spouse was the beneficiary.

In December of 1986, Bogarh and his brother Narinder allegedly met in secret in Vancouver. Narinder then bought a plane ticket to Kelowna and rented a hotel room for three days under a false name.

On Dec. 31, Saminder was stabbed to death in the bathroom of her home while her son was in the residence. The son gave statements like “daddy hit mommy with a knife and blood came out” to the RCMP.

A couple days later, on Jan. 2, 1987, Narinder had surgery in Vancouver to repair nerves and tendons on his fingers that had been severed. Canadian authorities said the injuries were consistent with a person’s hand slipping off the handle of a knife onto the blade after the knife was suddenly stopped, the documents say. Narinder gave other explanations, including that he’d been in a fight in the U.S. and that he had injured his hand while cutting vegetables. He later fled to India, court documents say. Later, in 1997 and 2000 with the assistance of police in India, the RCMP interviewed Narinder, who at that time allegedly confessed to killing Saminder. Canadian authorities said DNA at the scene matched “that of a sibling of (Paramjit)” and Narinder was the only sibling in Canada at the time. He also matched blood found in a vehicle he rented and provided details of the crime only the killer would know, documents say. 

The B.C. Prosecution Service continues to pursue Narinder Bogarh's extradition.

None of the allegations have been proven in court. 

To contact a reporter for this story, email Charlotte Helston or call 250-309-5230 or email the editor. You can also submit photos, videos or news tips to the newsroom and be entered to win a monthly prize draw.

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