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Amitabh Chauhan
Amitabh Chauhan

Medical student in sexual-assault case a naval reservist Add to ...

A medical student from Hamilton, Ont., charged with another man in the drugging and gang sexual assault of a woman in a Toronto hotel room, is a naval reservist with a 14-year history in the Canadian military.

The revelation Tuesday came as police cast a wide net in their search for other alleged victims, looking as far afield as Saskatchewan and Latin America.

According to a biographical sketch released by the Department of National Defence, Amitabh Chauhan joined the Cadet Instructor Cadre, an organization within the Canadian Forces that oversees the training of cadets, in January 1997. In June of the following year, he became a member of the regular forces and underwent officer training at the Royal Military College in Kingston.

"He graduated from RMC in 2002 with a BA Honours in Politics and Economics," DND's statement continued. "Following his education with RMC, he began his training to become a pilot in January 2004."

He ended his training in the summer of 2005 and, in 2007, left the regular military. Since September 2008, he has been a part-time member of the navy's reserve, posted to the port of Hamilton, Ont. His unit provides port security, dive teams and works on coastal defence vessels. Mr. Chauhan is training for maritime surface and underwater operations, and holds the rank of acting sub-lieutenant, a junior commissioned officer.

Mr. Chauhan is 32-years-old and a resident of the Hamilton borough of Ancaster.

Two Sundays ago, police allege, Mr. Chauhan met up with a 23-year-old woman at a hotel bar on Queen Street West to give her career advice. Suganthan Kayilasanathan, 32, of Markham, Ont., they said, was also present. The trio eventually moved to another bar, on Wellington Street.

The two men are accused of slipping a drug into the woman's drink, bringing her to a hotel room and assaulting her.

According to the records of the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Ontario, Mr. Chauhan is studying medicine at McMaster University, where he is based in the plastic surgery department. Mr. Kayilasanathan is registered as a family doctor with a private practice on Markham Road in Scarborough. He graduated in 2007 from the Medical University of the Americas, on the Caribbean island of Nevis.

Investigators have launched a cross-country and international search for victims, after learning that the pair had travelled together, recently visiting Panama.

"I have information that leads me to believe that there are other victims," said Detective Dan Luff of the Sex Crimes Unit in a Youtube video.

Mr. Chauhan had a Saskatchewan driver's licence in his name when he was arrested. A hub for military pilot training, CFB Moose Jaw is located in the province.

Military officials, meanwhile, would not say much about the investigation, but confirmed they were helping out.

"We definitely co-operate fully in any police investigation," said spokeswoman Megan McLean.

Police have already been contacted by a second woman who said she may have been assaulted by one of the two men. Investigators have not said where she is, but said she is not from Toronto.

The pair are still in custody, and face another bail hearing Wednesday morning.

Mr. Chauhan's lawyer has said the student will fight the charges.

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