Keremeos restaurant owner guilty of arson

A Keremeos man who attempted to burn down his own business has been given a suspended sentence and 18 months probation.

Inderjit Chima was arrested by RCMP at his residence on May 26, 2011 and charged with possession of incendiary material, arson in relation to inhabited property, arson: damage to own property, assault and uttering threats. On Friday, he pled guilty to two counts of arson in relation to inhabited property.

Two employees of his restaurant, Riverbed Bistro, called in a complaint to RCMP of arson in progress. Witnesses advised RCMP that Chima had poured gasoline around the perimeter of the building threatening to set it on fire.

Crown counsel spokesperson Samantha Hulme said the circumstances laid before the court were that Chima was intoxicated and had an argument with his wife. He got $10 worth of gasoline and poured it on a railing around the outside of the bistro which he and his wife owned. He stated he was going to light it up but did not have anything on his person to set the gasoline on fire and one of his workers took the gas can away from him.

At the time of the incident the restaurant was open and there was customers inside as well as four apartments located on the upper floor of the building. Mounties said two male employees intervened and Chima fled the scene on foot after assaulting a family member. Chima was pursued by RCMP who eventually arrested him at his residence.

At the time of the incident, RCMP said only minor injuries were sustained by the victim of the assault.


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