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One of 7 men charged in Elnaz Hajtamiri case to be released from custody

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One of the seven men charged in connection with the alleged frying pan assault and attempted abduction of Ontario woman Elnaz Hajtamiri weeks before her disappearance will be released from custody.

READ: Complete details on the Elnaz Hajtamiri investigation

Akash Rana, of Delta, B.C., charged with aggravated assault and conspiracy to commit an indictable offence, was granted bail in a Newmarket courtroom on Friday.

Evidence heard during the court proceedings is protected under a publication ban.

Harshpreet Sekhon, of Mono, Ont., is charged with the same offences and remains behind bars in a Lindsay jail, with a bail hearing scheduled for next week.

FRYING PAN ASSAULT

York Regional Police (YRP) said on December 20, 2021, Hajtamiri, 37, was struck in the head with a frying pan in her Richmond Hill underground parking garage by two men who were interrupted by a concerned citizen before fleeing the scene in a vehicle.

She was taken to the hospital and treated for a head wound requiring roughly 40 stitches.

YRP has since confirmed they seized a tracking device, which her family said was found on her car after the assault.

Hajtamiri then went into hiding with family in Wasaga Beach before police say three suspects posing as officers dragged the five-foot-three woman barefoot through the snow to a waiting Lexus sport utility vehicle on January 12, 2022.

She hasn't been seen or heard from since.

CHARGES LAID

Provincial police have laid kidnapping charges against her former boyfriend, Mohamad Lilo, and Krystal P. Lawrence of Brampton in connection with Hajtamiri's disappearance.

Lilo, whom police say owns a shipping container business, also faces charges of attempted murder and attempted kidnapping relating to the alleged frying pan assault. Police also charged him with criminal harassment.

A warrant is out for the arrest of Toronto's Deshawn Davis, 35, while a third man believed to be involved has yet to be identified - police say he is from the Greater Toronto Area.

Harshdeep Binner and Riyasat Singh of Brampton were charged with attempted murder in the York Region attack. Singh has since been deported after pleading guilty to aggravated assault, while Binner remains behind bars.

On Thursday, YRP announced they were searching for two more suspects, Sukhpreet Singh and Jaspreet Singh, believed to have taken part in the planning and execution of the alleged attack and attempted abduction in the parking garage.

"I truly believe we will bring those responsible for the Richmond Hill attack and her subsequent disappearance to justice," said York Regional Police Det. Sgt. Jason Dinsmore during a press conference on Thursday.

The allegations against all of the accused have not been tested in court.

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