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Tighter conditions for man in BC Rail case

VANCOUVER - One of the former government aides convicted in the B.C. Rail corruption case was ordered Monday to be placed on electronic monitoring after breaching the original conditions of his house arrest.

VANCOUVER - One of the former government aides convicted in the B.C. Rail corruption case was ordered Monday to be placed on electronic monitoring after breaching the original conditions of his house arrest.

Dave Basi and his co-accused, Bobby Virk, pleaded guilty last month, abruptly ending a lengthy and expensive legal odyssey that began with the unprecedented raid on the British Columbia legislature in December 2003.

They were sentenced to two years of house arrest, and could only leave their homes to go to work, to exercise or to buy groceries.

But just a day after their guilty pleas Basi appeared in a television interview at Virk's house, in violation of his release conditions.

"Immediately after the sentencing, there was enormous media attention and he had received several calls from this particular reporter, who reached him at his cellphone who offered to be at Virk's house in five minutes and he foolishly agreed to that," his lawyer, Michael Bolton, told a hearing in B.C. Supreme Court on Monday.

"In my submission it was a minor breach."

The Crown and defence submitted a joint proposal for tighter release conditions, which Chief Justice Anne MacKenzie approved.

Those conditions include wearing an electronic monitoring device for the next six months and more extensive reporting requirements.

Basi will now have to submit a report to his sentencing supervisor at the beginning of each week detailing his plans for the next seven days, and he'll have to get permission to deviate from that itinerary.

MacKenzie asked Basi if he admitted to breaching his conditions and whether he understood the seriousness of the new requirements, and he replied that he did.

Basi and Virk pleaded guilty Oct. 18 to breach of trust and accepting a benefit for releasing secret documents to one of the bidders for B.C. Rail. They admitted trading secrets in the $1-billion privatization of the public railway in exchange for cash and NFL tickets.

In addition to house arrest, Basi was also ordered to pay a fine of $75,000.

The sudden guilty plea ended a seven-year legal process that eventually cost the provincial government $18 million, including $6 million the government agreed to pay in legal fees for the defence.

The legal saga began in December 2003, when RCMP officers served an unprecedented search warrant on offices at the B.C. legislature.

At the time, Basi was the ministerial assistant to then-finance minister Gary Collins and Virk was the assistant to then-transport minister Judith Reid.

Aneal Basi, Dave Basi's cousin, was accused of money laundering but charges against him were dropped when Crown and defence lawyers agreed he had "no knowledge'' of the offences Dave Basi was committing.

 
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