Jaspreet Singh

Address: Grice Crescent, Essendon, Vic, Australia
Age: 29
Sex: Male
Ethnic background: Indian


Date: 2 May 2013
Charges: Obtain property by deception and making false report to police
Category: Fraud
Court: Melbourne Magistrates' Court
Judge: Deputy Chieg Magistrate Felicity Broughton
Penalty: Eight months's jail, suspended for two years

Jaspreet Singh, an Indian, who falsely blamed racist thugs for setting fire to his car - and himself - was given an eight months' suspended jail sentence.

But there were calls for Jaspreet Singh to be deported for stoking international tensions over attacks on Indians.

After his conviction, Singh walked from court  displaying the scars of his botched insurance fraud.

His plot blew up in his face when he doused his car with unleaded petrol and set it ablaze with a gas stove lighter. He suffered burns to 30 per cent of his body, including to his neck, face and scalp.

"Tell him to grab his petrol can and take it home," said Steve Medcraft, president of People Against Lenient Sentencing. "He tarnished Australia's reputation and tried to rip off the system.

"He most definitely should be kicked out of the country."

Singh, who lives with his wife on a spousal visa, pleaded guilty to attempting to obtain property by deception and making a false report to police.

Melbourne Magistrates' Court heard that Singh was in dire financial trouble when he torched his car, worth about $8000, in Essendon on January 9, 2013.

"Singh failed to consider atmospheric conditions and volatility of petroleum vapour, so upon engaging the flame . . . a vapour explosion occurred," Senior Constable Luke Devlin told the court.

On January 27, 2013, Singh lodged an insurance claim. He told police a group of men had attacked him.

Senior Constable Devlin said it was an aggravating factor that Singh made his false report when tension between Australia and India was at a high.

Defence lawyer Paul McClure said his client's desperate plan had "backfired".

Deputy Chief Magistrate Felicity Broughton said Singh's crime was a stupid "premeditated enterprise" that brought shame to himself, his family and his community.

She sentenced Singh to eight months' jail, but suspended it for two years.


Jaspreet Singh's false report to police created a furore in the Australian and Indian media as he claimed he was the victim of a racist attack.

This what journalist Andrew Bolt had to say about the case on 5 February 2013:

We are not a redneck mob

IT'S because so many people want to believe Australians are racist that Jaspreet Singh became the latest fake example of our evil.

Singh, a 29-year-old Indian "student", turned up last month burned to a crisp, with a tale of having been attacked in Essendon by four racists with a can of petrol.

The story smelled from the start, and not just of premium unleaded. Police even warned it sounded suss, starting with this notion that gangs roam Essendon late at night with cans of petrol, looking for Indians to burn.

But what followed is a golden example of a phenomenon that's made this country seem like a madhouse lately. If people really want to believe something they will, and facts barely matter. Indeed, facts are then evil.

And that's why so many of our preacher-teacher class, from academics to ABC broadcasters, have so eagerly insisted that every Australian (except themselves, funnily) is a racist redneck - a smugly self-regarding lie they're now shocked to see is believed of them, too, by an Indian media only too happy to pander to its own chip-on-the-shoulder xenophobes.

It's the wanting to believe that counts. So here's what we read last month about the bizarre barbecueing of Jaspreet Singh from Indian journalists and Australian cause-pushers.

Sindh Today, January 9: "Days after India asked Australia to take urgent action against those behind the murder of an Indian student a week ago, a 29-year-old Indian was set ablaze Saturday by four unidentified attackers in Melbourne, putting bilateral ties under strain."

The New Indian Express, January 11: "Victoria Police say ... there is no reason at this stage to consider this (attack) racially motivated. If the statement had been calculated to enrage, it could hardly have been more provocatively phrased. Perhaps, in Australia, opportunist crimes also involve setting the victim ablaze.

In any other country, this would prima facie be considered a hate crime, in this case racist."

The Communist Party of India, January 12: "In the past two weeks, racist attacks on Indians in Australia have claimed two lives (Ranjodh Singh and Nitin Garg) while 29-year-old Jaspreet Singh is now recovering from burns ... "

The Sydney Morning Herald, January 15: "Aboriginal leader Tom Calma believes the recent attacks on Indian students in Australia could be racially motivated."

AND more. Even former Defence Force chief General Peter Cosgrove, too ready to bend with the fashionable wind, just days later gave an Australia Day speech claiming attacks on Indians had "erupted over the last several weeks to become a major problem", and "it is easy to conclude that they are racially targeted".

Just as well he didn't mention the now singed Jaspreet by name, because here's what we read this week of our latest martyr to Australian racism: "Singh, 29, of Grice Crescent, Essendon, in the city's north, faced an out-of-sessions hearing early this morning ... charged with making a false report to police and criminal damage with a view to gaining a financial advantage."

Of course, Singh could be completely innocent. Let the court decide whether he really just blew himself up while trying to torch his car - but do let the Indian Government now apologise for jumping to its own inflammatory conclusion about our wickedness.