Pubdate: Fri, 02 Jan 2004
Source: Province, The (CN BC)
Copyright: 2004 The Province
Author: Adrienne Tanner, The Province


Another 'Basi Boy' Says He's Confident Pair Will Be Exonerated

Amar Bajwa, one of the so-called "Basi Boys," an influential group of
young Liberals, says he supports his friends Dave Basi and Robert
Virk, whose offices at the legislature were raided by police last Sunday.

Bajwa says he is confident the two ministerial aides will be
exonerated when the police organized crime and drug investigation is

"The media has painted 'guilty, guilty, guilty' on Basi and Virk,"
Bajwa said.

But it could turn out to be a terrible mistake, said Bajwa, 25, who
has spoken with both friends since the raid last Sunday.

Bajwa said he does not know what sparked the raid or led police to
believe his friends were connected to the 20-month criminal
investigation. "There's only so much we've been told. But I'm 100 per
cent behind them."

Bajwa is a regional organizer for Prime Minister Paul Martin's
election campaign. He was recently involved in a controversial
organizing drive that ousted MP Herb Dhaliwal's executive from the
Vancouver South-Burnaby riding and is supporting Simon Fraser
University professor Shinder Purewal, who is seeking the Liberal nomination.

Bajwa met Basi and Virk years ago through federal politics.

They were ardent young Liberals who embraced politics at a young age,
volunteering tirelessly for campaigns, fundraising ventures and
organizing drives, Bajwa said.

Basi, in particular, drew young people from many backgrounds into the
Liberal fold. And gradually a group of young, ambitious political
workers formed a tight circle around their mentor to work with and
learn from him, Bajwa said.

Bajwa said the term "Basi Boys" has been coined by the media to spice
up stories about the police investigation, about which little is known.

"It's not like we go around calling ourselves the Basi Boys. It's not
like we took an oath, shed some blood and have a code of silence," he

Through sheer hard work, Basi and some of his proteges have achieved
prominent positions at a young age.

"Every one of us has worked, sweated, volunteered, gone door-to-door
and we worked our way to the top," Bajwa said.

Until he was fired last week, Basi, 33, was assistant to Finance
Minister Gary Collins. Virk, who is about 30, has been suspended from
his position as assistant to Transport Minister Judith Reid.

Bajwa said the success of the young politicos was not always well
received. "People are upset and jealous out there because we have been
so proactive."

He said Basi, whose father died when he was young and whose mother
worked hard all her life, is devastated over losing his job.

Bajwa said questions over his friend's land holdings in Victoria are

Basi, whose salary last year was $66,868, is listed as co-owner of
three homes with a combined worth of more than $775,000.

"We own a couple of houses as well," Bajwa said. "This is what we do
in the Indo-Canadian community. We're into developing. It has nothing
to do with what kind of job you have or money you make."
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