06/07/2012

Sex offender joined Queen on barge for Diamond Jubilee

Harbinder Singh Rana
Harbinder Singh Rana, in the purple turban, is seen on the Spirit of Chartwell royal barge near Kate, Prince Harry and Prince William during Queen Elizabeth's Diamond Jubilee Pageant on the River Thames on June 3. (Reuters)

The smooth sailing is over for the Diamond Jubilee.

British MPs are calling for an inquiry in the wake of the revelation that a convicted sex offender was one of the invited guests on the royal barge last weekend.

Harbinder Singh Rana had been invited aboard the Spirit of Chartwell to join the Queen and senior Royal Family members on their historic journey down the Thames to celebrate the monarch’s 60 years on the throne. Singh Rana was a guest of Prince Charles because of his work with Sikh community in Britain.

FamilyApparently, despite all the security checks along the way, no one was aware of Singh Rana’s history of assaulting women while posing as doctor in the 1980s. In 1986, he was sentenced to four years in prison after being convicted of five counts of indecent assault and 11 counts of assault causing bodily harm. According to the London Mirror, testimony revealed that he tricked his way into women’s homes by saying he was doctor and subjected them to internal exams.

Singh Rana, 52, told the paper he had been invited on the royal barge by Prince Charles’ office about three weeks ago. He said no one had asked him about his past.

"The fact that the Prince of Wales invited me clearly shows what I have done for the community since then,” he said.

Clarence House admitted it was unaware of Singh Rana’s convictions and sources told the Daily Mail that Prince Charles was would not have invited him had he known.

The Mail, like other British tabs, expressed outrage at the “astonishing error of judgment” in allowing Singh Rana to join the VIP crowd on the royal barge, whose regal passenger list featured the Queen, Prince Philip, William, Kate, Harry, Charles and Camilla. Singh Rana said he did not talk to the royals, though there are pictures of him passing within a few feet of the Queen.

“I have made it clear I wasn’t representing the Sikh community,” Singh Rana said. “I was there because I was very happy to be invited.”

British MP Steve McCabe said he was "flabbergasted" by the apparent lack in security checks.

“There should be a police investigation into how this was allowed to happen,” he told the Telegraph. “Who the prince wants to entertain in private is his concern, but this was a public event. Questions need to be answered.”

Singh Rana has done extensive charity work for the Anglo-Sikh Heritage Trail. Its Facebook page on Thursday contained several messages of support for him and the work he has done.

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