How the Indian Community in Australia fared in 2018 – A Snapshot

Unlike the previous years, in 2018, Indian community made headlines in Australia for drowning deaths, criminal activities and a few noteworthy achievements. Verdict on Sam Abraham murder case caught the attention of both Indian and Australian media.

Nine people of Indian origin mostly international students and tourists drowned in Australian waters this year. Australian Government is planning awareness campaigns targeting the Asian community in languages like Hindi and Chinese.

Indian President Ram Nath Kovind arrived in Australia in November on a three-day visit, becoming the first-ever Indian head of state to visit the country. The Indian community largely ignored the President’s visit as it failed to generate any enthusiasm in the community.

Newsmaker of the Year

Indian Business tycoon, Gautam Adani was the Indian Newsmaker of the year 2018 in Australia. Adani who is estimated to be worth $8.81 billion, made his presence felt in all forms of news media here, protest against his proposed mine in the Galilee Basin picked up momentum across Australia. Adani has promised thousands of local jobs, but opponents say the project will fuel global warming and destroy the Great Barrier Reef.



Ragini Narayan shot with nailgun by Stepson

26th December 2018

Ragini Narayan with step son Akash

NSW Police arrested 20-year-old Akash Narayan and charged with causing grievous bodily harm with intent to murder on 26th December 2018 for shooting his step mother with nail gun. 50-year-old Ragni Narayan was shot twice at close range by Akash after they had a verbal fight at their home in Bonnyrigg Heights in Sydney’s south-west at around 10:30 pm on Christmas day.

Senthill Kumar Arumugum sentenced to life in prison for killing Meena Narayanan

14th December 2018

Senthill Kumar Arumugum, who murdered Singapore citizen Meena Narayanan after she declined to marry him has been sentenced to life in prison on 14th December 2018 in Brisbane. Arumugam will be eligible to apply for parole after serving 20 years of his life sentence in custody. With a mandatory non-parole period of 20 years, he will be eligible for release in 2035

People smuggling charges were dropped against Indian journalist Rakesh Kumar Sharma

Rakesh Kumar Sharma, a journalist from India has been released from criminal custody after the charges against him were dropped due to lack of evidence. Rakesh Kumar Sharma was facing 20 years in jail after he was arrested along with eight Indian men during the Commonwealth Games and charged with people smuggling offences.

Indian Nurse from Punjab allegedly behind the murder of Queensland woman Toyah Cordingley

21st October 2018

24-year-old Toyah Cordingley was found dead on Wangetti Beach, 42km north of Cairns on 21st October 2018. Her body had visible and violent injuries. Now the Police have gathered enough evidence to point the finger at Rajwinder Singh who already fled Australia for India. The Queensland Health-registered nurse reportedly worked at Innisfail hospital, south of Cairns.

Indian Student Sajan Arora caught with child Porno at Perth Airport sentenced

November 2018

21-year-old Indian student Sajan Arora was found with child pornography on his phone at Perth Airport has been jailed for eight months but will be released from prison after serving half of the sentence.

Indian trio accused of stealing $900,000 of baby formula in Melbourne

28th November 2018

Victoria Police allege, a group of Indians, Gurwinder Gill (36 years), Herdeep Singh (21) and Navjinder Singh (24) were part of a group that robbed 15 sites that stored baby formula between June 8 and August 30 in 2018. Their loot is estimated to be worth upto $900,000. Gurwinder Gill and Herdeep Singh appeared before Melbourne Magistrates Court on 28th November 2018 but Navjinder Singh is absconding while on bail and an arrest warrant has been issued in his name.

Taxi driver Jatinder Panesar jailed for crash deaths

5th November 2018

A jury convicted, 39-year-old, Jatinder Panesar from Kialla in Northern Victoria of three charges of dangerous driving causing death, and two of dangerous driving causing serious injury on 5th November 2018. He is been jailed for six years for the accident that happened in 2017, while working as a taxi driver. There was no involvement of speed, drug or alcohol.

Financial Advisor Satvir Singh Birk jailed over $800,000 fraud

31st October 2018

42-year-old Satvir Singh Birk from the Gold Coast was sentenced to two- and half-year jail in the Southport District Court over charges pertaining to defrauding his clients of almost $800,000. Satvir Birk was charged with five counts of fraud in July 2016 following an ASIC investigation on fraud committed between September 2010 and October 2011, He was also accused of directing the proceeds from another client to his own father. He will serve only 4 months in jail.

Brisbane taxi driver Gurpreet Singh Grewal has been jailed to three-and-a-half years for rape

Brisbane taxi driver Gurpreet Singh Grewal has been jailed to three-and-a-half years’ imprisonment after he pleaded guilty to charges of rape and two counts of sexual assault. The incident happened on 13th May 2017 when he raped one of his passengers. Two months later he assaulted another female passenger.

Federal Circuit Court fines Jobanjeet Singh and company fined $230,000 for exploiting migrant workers

The Federal Circuit Court has penalised Jobanjeet Singh $40,510 and his company Joban’s Trolley Collection Pty Ltd a further $190,128 for using false records to conceal more than $29,000 in underpayments in a period of six months in 2015.

Sam Abraham Murder – Guilty verdict for Cyanide killers

February 2018

Sofia Sam, 34, and Arun Kamalasanan, 36, have been jailed for more than 20 years each for murdering Sam Abraham.

Domino’s worker Anand Singh shot in chest and hand during robbery in NSW

A pizza restaurant employee, 21-year-old Anand Singh was shot in the early hours of Sunday (7th January 2018) morning when he was confronted by an armed man. The incident happened at Dominos Shop on Dunmore Street at Wentworthville in NSW around 1:40 am on Sunday. The armed man made demands for money before shooting Anand in his hand and chest before fleeing the scene.


Indian National drowns at MacKenzie Fallls

25th December 2018

27-year-old Indian national Harmanjot Singh Walia, who was visiting his friends in Melbourne has drowned at MacKenzies waterfall in the Grampians National Park in western Victoria on 26th December 2018. Swimming was prohibited at MacKenzies waterfall.

2 People from an Indian family drowned in Phillip Island

24th December 2018

Two men from a Punjabi family drowned at a closed beach near The Colonnades, off The Blvd on Phillip Island, around 5.30pm on Christmas eve. A helpless mother watched her 20-year-old son and husband drown, as her other son, a 12-year-old boy was taken to hospital for treatment. The family is from Cranbourne East.

Three Indian nationals drowns at Monee beach in NSW while trying to rescue children

17th December 2018

The Indian families from Sydney and Brisbane were spending their holidays at Coffs Harbour and were visiting the scenic Moonee Beach, 23 kilometres north of Coffs Harbour in New South Wales when members of the family got into difficulties in the surf . 45-year-old Mohammad Ghouseuddin and 35-year-old Syed Rahath and 28-year-old Mohammad Abdul Junaid drowned in the sea.

Indian student drowns at Moore River Estuary in Guilderton

3rd December 2018

An Indian national has drowned while swimming in a river north of Perth. The man was swimming with his girlfriend near the pontoon in Moore River Estuary in Guilderton

Eight-year-old girl dies at Doncaster in a tragic accident

28th November 2018


Eight-year-old Avreet Jhinger died at Doncaster in Melbourne’s east after being struck by a car. Avreet was crossing Victoria Street in Doncaster on 28th November 2018 at around 6:30pm when she was hit by the car. The driver of the vehicle, a 64-year-old woman stopped and assisted the child. Avreet was  taken to Royal Children’s hospital where she died later.

Indian Student, Parth Somabhai Patel dies in horror crash in Sydney

27th November 2018

Two trucks and a van collided on Mulgoa Road at about 5.40am on 27th November 2018, claiming the life of the 25-year-old van driver, an Indian international student Parth Somabhai Patel. Two others were also injured in the horror crash.

Indian Student drowns at Stanwell Park Beach in Sydney

1st October 2018

A 25-year old Indian International student drowned while swimming at Stanwell Park beach south of the Royal National Park in Sydney’s South. Emergency services were called to Stanwell Park Beach just before 1.45pm on 1st October 2018, after he was spotted floating face-down in the surf.

Indian National dies in a car crash in Shepparton

June 2018

The 24-year-old Indian national, Gurwinder Singh Dhillon was killed in a car crash in Shepparton. He was critically injured after he lost control of his vehicle and it crashed into a paddock fence along the road. He died at the hospital a few days later.

Indian national dies stuck by a car in Baybrook

15th June 2018

The 24-year-old Indian national was on foot when he was struck by a car at the intersection of Ballarat Road and Evans Street in Braybrooke about 5.30am, on Friday June 8. He remained in critical condition for a week and died in hospital on Friday 15th of June. Name not available.

Indian IT professional killed in crash with a truck in WA

36-year-old, Shivanand Jadhav, who was riding a bicycle along Forrest Highway near Binningup (25km north of Bunbury) in Perth on 3rd June 2018, met with a tragic accident costing him his life. Shivanand Jhadav was riding a cycle when he was involved in a crash with a truck at around 11:30 in the morning.

Indian Student ‘taking selfie’ plunges to death in front of friends at popular WA attraction

18th May 2018

Indian International student Ankit Jatain fell to death while taking a selfie at the popular tourist spot, The GAP in Albany, Western Australia. The incident happened on 18th May 2018 at about 3pm. He hit several rocks as he fell 40m down landing on the rock at the base of The Gap, while his friends watched in horror helplessly. He visited the tourist location with eight of his friends who are also international students studying with him.

Indian man charged with wife’s murder in Sydney found dead

January 2018

Murder accused Jagdish Singh was found dead on Monday 15 January 2018. He was under remand, charged with the murder of his wife. He is believed to have taken his own life.

Winners and their achievements

Kaushalya Vaghela became the first Indian born MP in Victorian Parliament

Labor Party candidate Kauishalya Vaghela was elected to represent the Western Metropolitan region in the Victorian Legislative Council.

Gurbakhshish Singh clinches two silver and three bronze in Oceania Championship

15th December 2018

Canberra-based Punjabi powerlifter Gurbakhshish Singh has exhibited an impressive display of physical strength and athletic prowess at Oceania Powerlifting Championships and bagged two silver and three bronze medals at Brisbane.

11-year-old Harneep Kaur wins National Language Competition organised by SBS

11-year-old Harneep Kaur was among the five children who won SBS National Languages Competition 2018, a nationwide initiative which aims to inspire and encourage language learning and retention. The competition received nearly 4000 entries from all states and territories across Australia spanning 82 languages, including Punjabi, Hindi, Mandarin, French, Japanese, Arabic, German, Greek and Spanish.

Rupinder Kaur won gold at National Wrestling Championship

Indian-origin wrestler, Rupinder Kaur has won a gold medal in 53kg wrestling division at the Australian National Wrestling Championship.

Federal Court clears Unique International College from charges of unconscionable conduct

September 2018

The ACCC commenced legal action against Unique college in October 2015 following a joint investigation by NSW Fair Trading. ACCC wanted to recoup $57 million paid to the college in Commonwealth funding under the VET-FEE HELP scheme. But The Full Federal Court has cleared Unique of unconscionable conduct in enrolling students into diploma courses.

Sunny Jadhav announced father of the year by YMCA Victoria

August 2018

YMCA Victoria in association with the Father’s Day Council of Victoria has announced 49-year-old Melbourne man Sandeep “Sunny” Jadhav as the Victorian Father of the Year for 2018. Born in Nagpur, India, Sunny immigrated to Australia in 1996 and has lived in Melbourne for over 10 years, prior to this he lived in Sydney. Although he works tirelessly as a Land Maintenance System Electrical Engineer for the Defence Force, his true joy comes from teaching and inspiring others in maths, science and engineering subjects.

Akshay Venkatesh awarded the Fields Medal

August 2018

36 year old,Akshay Venkatesh has won the Fields Medal, also described the Nobel prize of mathematics. He is currently working at Stanford University. He was born in Delhi in 1981 and later moved to Perth He joined the University of Western Australia as the youngest ever student at the age of 13 and graduated with honours at 16, earning a BSc in Maths and Physics.

People of Indian Origin recognised in Australia Day Honours 2018

January 2018

Indians were among the 895 Australians recognised in this year’s Australia Day Honours.

Companion of the Order (AC) –  Mukesh Haikerwal


Sharad Kumar, Vanita Rajul Parekh, Anant Kaur Sandhu,


Dav Sharma

October 2018

Independent candidate Kerryn Phelps has ended over a century of Liberal dominance in the Sydney seat of Wentworth in a bi-election after the seat became vacant in the wake of former PM Malcom Turnbull’s resignation. The Liberal candidate Dave Sharma suffered a humiliating defeat. Sharma served as Australia’s ambassador to Israel from 2013 , the second Australian of Indian heritage to become an ambassador

When Manvir’s shoe brings in a Sick attitude in Australia

Kings International Kabaddi Cup at Errington Reserve in St Albans in Melbourne was supposed to be a celebration of brotherhood and rivalry for Kabadi lover of Melbourne. But the actions of a few sick individuals brought disrepute to the whole Indian Community in Australia. Punjabi Politician Sikander Singh Maluka was invited as the chief guest at the Kings International Kabaddi Cup in Melbourne , him being the President of Punjabi Kabaddi Association (PKA). Mr Maluka was accompanied by SAD leader Tejinder Singh Midhukhera, who is the vice-president of PKA. Maluka was sitting on stage when around seven youngsters who were part of the audience started raising slogans against him. Their protest soon turned into violence never seen in any Indian event before in Australia. One among the seven youngsters threw his shoe towards the stage with slogans “Maluka Murdabaad” but fortunately the shoe did not hit the chief guest. Few empty bottles and plastic chairs were also thrown but hit no one. Mr. Maluka was escorted out of the venue under police protection.

Indian Restaurant handed down $200,000 in penalties after Indian worker exploited and sacked by text message

Simon Peter Mackenzie, the former owner-operator of the Indian restaurant, The Curry Tree, in Perth has been penalised more than $200,000 after paying Indian national, Gurprit Singh nothing for almost four months’ work then sacking him by text message for taking a day of sick leave. Simon Peter Mackenzie has been penalised $34,815 and his company, Siner Enterprises Pty Ltd, has been penalised an additional $174,075 by the Federal Court.

Alex Bhathal lost Batman

March 2018

Alex Bhathal lost Batman in bi- elections to Ged Kearney and labor. Bathal’s support for Khalistan movement created ripples in the Indian Community. Bathal later came with an explanation saying she supports the right of Sikhs for self-determination.


Ram Chandra Khadka

10th September 2018

47-year-old Ram Chandra Khadka of Rockdale, in Sydney’s south, was last seen at about 5.45 pm on September 10th when he left his home on foot on Bestic Street. He was last seen wearing a black short-sleeved jacket, orange and black striped short sleeved shirt, black long pants, and brown striped boots.

Still Missing

Shiva Chauhan


Shiva Chauhan has not been heard from since a text message sent at 11.30pm on Thursday 1 May, 2014. Concerns for Shiva were raised after it was discovered that on Friday 2 May, he had not completed his delivery run nor did he attend an arranged meeting that afternoon.

Shiva’s delivery van was located on Hutton Road in Keysborough at around 3pm on the Friday and Shiva’s personal belongings (wallet and identification) were still inside. Despite thorough searches, there have been no confirmed sightings Shiva. Shiva is described as around 177cm tall with a dark complexion, slim build and dark coloured straight hair.

If you have information that may assist police to locate Shiva please call Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000.

Tej Chitnis

Tej Chitnis was last seen on Wednesday 27 April 2016 at approximately 10am leaving his Burwood East address in his silver 2005 VW Golf Hatchback, Victorian rego TTF 517. He usually drives to the Blackburn Railway station, parks his car in a nearby street and catches public transport to University. Tej’s vehicle was last seen travelling east on the Maroondah Highway, Healesville near the intersection of Green Street on 27 April about 11.34am.

Tej failed to return home at 4:00pm as usual and did not attend his father’s birthday dinner that night. His VW Golf has also not been located. Police have concerns for Tej as this behaviour is out of character.

Tej was last seen wearing a t-shirt, jeans and black Adidas runners and is described as 170-175 cm tall, of Indian appearance (he was born in Australia to Indian parents), medium build, with short black hair.

If you have information that may assist police to locate Tej please call Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000.


Mahalingam Sinnathamby lived by himself in Noble Park Victoria.

Over time the contact kept with family was irregular but family were unable to contact him between late August and late November 2005.

Police attended and conducted a welfare check on 24 November but were unable to locate him at that time and a missing person report was made.

Rajah Thankarajah

Rajah Thangarajah, was last seen at his Eastlakes home on the evening of 8 October 2015. He is described as being of Indian appearance, with brown hair, brown eyes, thin build and 160 to 170cm tall

It’s believed Rajah left the house sometime prior to 08:00am on 9 October 2015 in vehicle APL17H, a Green Ford Falcon, which was located that evening in car park in Coogee.

Rajah has not contacted his family since and there are serious concerns for his welfare.



Diwali has achieved the status of “The Indian Festival” that is celebrated widely in Australia with support from both federal and state Governments. Diwali is now celebrated in all major Australian cities in a large scale.

Other News

President Ram Nath Kovind became the first Indian President to visit Australia

President Ram Nath Kovind arrived in Australia in November on a three-day visit, becoming the first-ever Indian head of state to visit the country.

Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews announced $8 Million in funding dedicated to the Indian Community as a pre-poll sweetener

Daniel Andrews promised to establish Victoria’s first Indian Community Infrastructure Fund, which temples, places of worship and community centres eligible to apply for. He also announced funding for community languages. $50,000 to kick-start the accreditation of Hindi schools. Daniel Andrews promised $500,000 over four years on-going funding for celebrating Diwali at Federation Square. Andrews also promised funding worth $14.5 million to purchase land for two new aged-care facilities specifically for Indians

Hindu Temple vandalised in Sydney

October 2018

Bhartiye Mandir in Sydney’s west was vandalised with damage bill crossing $50,000.

Indian Spice Indian Restaurant destroyed in Fire in Adelaide

August 2018

Indian Spice, An Indian restaurant at Glenelg in Adelaide was destroyed in fire with a estimated loss of $300,000

The health Insurance issue

Health Insurance clauses for visitors have become a thorny issue, after claims of many were rejected by insurance companies refusing to cover hospital costs. Many such families finally resorted to gofundme or Facebook donations to cover the cost of hospitalisation of their parents. This is an issue community leader must address.

ATO Scam

Many Indian Australians have lost large sums of money to ATO Scams believed to have originated from India.

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