FRESNO – A Fresno courtroom was packed Wednesday with supporters of the man who police say tried to hire a hitman to murder his former business partner.
Daljit Singh was at a hearing for charges he faces of solicitation of murder and possession of a stolen gun that was supposed to be used in the alleged plot. After the hearing, Singh’s supporters made it clear that they believe in his innocence.
“We believe he is a very honest guy and a very religious guy,” Harry Gill, a leader in the Sikh community, said after the hearing. “He can’t do this kind of thing.”
Gill, who is a Fresno County planning commissioner and a member of the city police department Chief’s Advisory Board, said that “the truth will come out.”
The crowd continued to grow outside of the courtroom, as more than 100 supporters gathered, holding signs declaring their support for Singh. His wife, Rachel Singh, was among the crowd and said that her husband is “a good man.”
According to police, Daljit Singh was tape-recorded trying to hire a business associate to kill his former business partner, 43-year-old Rama Kant Dawar.
The business associate was Singh’s former employee, Joe Luis Yzaguirre Jr., who went to the police and became an informant for them in the case. Police wiretapped him and collected evidence against Singh during a two-month investigation.
An affidavit from police Det. George Imirian revealed that Singh allegedly solicited Yzaguirre, a convicted felon, by asking him, “How’d you like to make a pretty penny?” In another recorded incident, Singh said, “I want to take him out,” allegedly referring to Dawar.
Singh reportedly gave a gun to Yzaguirre to be used in Dawar’s murder, but Yzaguirre wasn’t wearing a wire during that alleged meeting.
Singh’s defense team has said that most of the claims against Singh are coming from an informant who has an extensive criminal past, including convictions for burglary, filing a forged document, and grand theft.
Singh’s lawyer, Anthony Capozzi, said that Yzaguirre owns a limousine business that competes with Singh’s limousine business and that may have been a motive to put Singh behind bars and eliminate the competition.
Police have said that Singh’s motive for trying to have Dawar killed was because of a business dispute the two had that led to a lawsuit being decided in Dawar’s favor.
So far the Sikh community has refused to believe that Singh could have solicited Dawar’s murder. Gill said that Singh and Dawar were on “friendly terms.” He said there was no reason for Dawar to fear for his life.
“Rama (Dawar) is not afraid of anybody,” Gill said. “I am very much sure Rama knows that, too.”
Gill said that Singh is a hard-working man and has always been charitable to the Sikh community and other organizations.
“I think he was set up,” Gill said.
Singh’s next court hearing is set for May 4. He is currently being held in Fresno County jail with bail set at $1 million.