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B.C. government tries to seize limo after alleged sex assault in Vancouver

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The government wants to seize a limo after its driver allegedly sexually assaulted a woman in the vehicle.

A lawsuit filed at the Victoria Law Courts seeks to have a limousine involved in an alleged sexual assault forfeited to the government. LYLE STAFFORD / TIMES COLONIST

The B.C. director of civil forfeiture has filed a suit against a limousine owner after he allegedly sexually assaulted a woman inside the vehicle last month.

The suit, filed this week at the Victoria Law Courts, says Sukhwinder Bassarpuri is likely to use the limousine to commit further crimes if it is returned to him. The government wants the vehicle forfeited.

The civil forfeiture office says Bassarpuri owns Armani Limousine Inc. and is the operator of the 2007 Lincoln Navigator seized by Vancouver Police last month.

“On Sept. 8, 2018, the VPD received a report of a female forcibly confined within the vehicle at a parking lot in the 600-block of Denman Street,” the lawsuit says.

Officers found the vehicle and “determined the female was incapable of providing consent to engage in sexual contact. The VPD determined that Mr. Bassarpuri had sexually assaulted the female,” the court document says.

Bassarpuri has not been charged. Nor has he yet filed a statement of defence in the case against the civil forfeiture office. According to the online provincial court database, he has no criminal charges or convictions in B.C.

Vancouver Police media officer Const. Jason Doucette said Wednesday that he was unable to comment on whether there is an open investigation into the allegations. He said police never comment on sexual assault cases unless and until someone is charged.

The civil forfeiture suit said that VPD officers “arrested Mr. Bassarpuri for sexual assault” and then searched the limousine.

They found bear spray, clear baggies that tested positive for cocaine, two razor blades and a hotel key card that also tested positive for cocaine, the suit says.

The director of civil forfeiture said Bassarpuri has a history of unlawful activity, including a sexual assault of a female passenger in a limousine he was operating in July 2013.

And “on April 27, 2018, the VPD was advised Mr. Bassarpuri had sexually assaulted a female in June of 2017,” the suit says.

It also alleged he drove the limo without a chauffeur’s permit or proper licensing from the Passenger Transportation Board.

“The vehicle has been used by Mr. Bassarpuri to engage in unlawful activities which … were likely to cause serious bodily harm,” the director said.

In addition to sexual assault and forcible confinement, the director alleges Bassarpuri possessed cocaine, violated the Motor Vehicle Act, and failed to declare taxable income.

Armani Limousine was recently incorporated on Aug. 18, 2018, according to the B.C. Corporate Registry. The business lists its address as 708 Davie St. — about a block from where the civil suit alleges the sex assault occurred.

But the address listed is a pizza parlour. Someone answering the phone there Thursday said they had nothing to do with the limo company and that it was “the wrong number.”

Court records indicate that Bassarpuri was a driver for another limousine company in 2013 when he was involved in an accident in downtown Vancouver that resulted in a civil suit. And he filed a lawsuit for a December 2016 accident in Vancouver that he alleged was the fault of the other driver. In that suit, Bassarpuri says he owned a company called Encore Limousine Inc. Corporate records show the company, was started in 2014, was dissolved in 2017 for failing to file an annual report.

Bassarpuri could not be reached for comment.

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