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Mississauga News & Torstar Network - Oct 19, 2006 - Louie Rosella and John Stewart

Police probing bribery allegations

Peel Regional Police are investigating allegations that Ward 6 candidate Carolyn Parrish was invited to pay a rival to drop out of the election race.

Const. Jennifer Bryer confirmed yesterday that the 11 Division Criminal Investigation Bureau is looking at the case after the outspoken former MP contacted police Wednesday and filed a report.

She claims to have received a call from an unknown person in late September who asked her to offer money to Ward 6 candidate Matanat Khan to withdraw from the Ward 6 race.

Parrish told The Toronto Star the caller suggested $2,500 would be enough to pay the bribe.

"I received a phone call and was asked if I wanted to up the ante (to have Khan move back to another ward).  I was told that another candidate was paid to move into this race," she said.  "I turned him (the caller) down and told him I don't get involved in payments, bribes or inducements.  I just put myself before the voters, bumps and all and say, 'Here I am.' "

Parrish said the caller was a man with a South Asian accent, but caller identification was blocked.

Bryer said police have yet to turn up any suspects, but are asking anyone with information to call 905-453-2121, ext. 1133.

Khan, host of the Pakistani-oriented radio show Sunshine Radio, said yesterday Parrish is using "dirty tricks" to try to win an election and denied any link to the call.

"She is just spreading rumours," he said, adding he is consulting a lawyer and considering legal action.

"She is spreading rumours because she knows I have a better chance to win here (in Ward 6)."

Earlier this fall, Khan was registered to run in Ward 11 and later in Ward 10, but withdrew each time before entering the Ward 6 race.

He denied ever receiving a bribe, or asking for one, to withdraw from Wards 10 or 11.  He said he withdrew from Ward 10 because there were too many candidates (23).

Parrish went to police after it was made public earlier this week that a candidate in neighbouring Ward 10, Adnan Hashmi, had been charged by Peel police with intimidation and impersonating an officer after he was accused by rival candidate Ishrat Nasim of trying to force her out of the race.

Nasim claims Hashmi, 32, went to her Mississauga residence Sunday afternoon in an attempt to get Nasim's landlady to say she doesn't actually live there and is therefore ineligible to run.

Hashmi, editor of the Urdu-language Sunday Times newspaper, has strongly denied the allegations, which won't be heard in court until after the Nov. 13 election.

In an interview with The News today, an outraged Hashmi maintained his innocence and claimed the accusations were an attempt to "sabotage" his election campaign.

"This is bull.  It's not acceptable," he said.  "These allegations are not correct.  They are all lies.  But I have faith in our justice system and I do believe that justice will be served."

Police allege that Sunday afternoon, two men claiming to be police officers forced the owner of Nasim's residence to write a note saying Nasim did not reside in the home.

The charge of impersonating a police officer carries a maximum sentence of six months in prison, a fine of $2,000, or both.

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