Rajwinder Singh from Punjab, who was offered a Rs 5.3 million reward for killing an Australian woman, has been arrested in Delhi: The Tribune India

Tribune News Service

Kulwinder Sandhu

Moga, 25.11

Australian police tweeted on Friday that a Punjabi suspect allegedly accused of murdering 24-year-old Toyah Cordingley on a Queensland beach in 2018 has been arrested.

Queensland Police said Rajwinder Singh was arrested in Delhi and could soon face an extradition court. He was brought before a court in Delhi on Friday, which sentenced him to five days in prison. Singh was jailed until November 30 after appearing in court.

Australian police on November 3 announced a record $1 million (Rs 5.31 crore) bounty for information leading to suspect Rajwinder Singh, 38, who worked as a nurse in Innisfail. He reportedly fled to India after allegedly murdering Toyah Cordingley.

Police had released his pictures as he was en route to a flight to India on October 23, 2018, leaving behind his wife and three children. His brother previously admitted that Rajwinder had landed at Amritsar Airport and was in mental distress due to work-related issues. Little has been known about him since then.

He moved to Queensland with his family over two decades ago. He may have used a fake address to get a passport and visa.

Rajwinder worked as a geriatric nurse for several years. He was married and had three children, all of whom lived in the town of Innisfail. His father Amar Singh and brother-in-law Harpreet Singh also live there. The whole family moved to Australia.

Family members of Rajwinder Singh, who lived in Innisfail, reported that he left town on October 21, 2018 (the date of Toyah’s assassination).

Earlier that day he had visited Cairns before frantically returning and buying a plane ticket. He flew to Sydney that evening (October 21, 2018) and spent the next few hours there with his sister before boarding a flight to Amritsar.

Fleeing Australia, he left behind his wife, children (one of whom was a newborn at the time) and other family members. He has reportedly not contacted her in the past four years. Also, he didn’t use any of his debit or credit cards.

Rajwinder Singh wasn’t the only one singled out as a suspect. Queensland Police had previously said “several persons of interest” were actively being investigated and that they had not narrowed themselves down to a single person.

Because Rajwinder’s location was found close to the murder scene, police had enough circumstantial and documentary evidence to frame him as the prime suspect, forcing the Australian government to seek help from Indian authorities to search for him, aside from the Announced huge reward of AUD 10,00,000 (Rs 5.31 crore) for anyone who helped in his arrest.

The Indian government approved the formal extradition of Rajwinder Singh a few months ago.

Local police and intelligence spies in Moga had previously conducted a house-to-house background check on residents of Buttar Kalan village, but Rajwinder’s ancestors could not be located in that village. Moga SSP Gulneet Singh Khurana said he actually belonged to Buttar Kalan village in Amritsar district.

Queensland Police Commissioner Katarina Carroll said the day was “a long time coming”, while the Attorney General said Singh’s extradition was a “high priority” for the government.

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