By Jackie Burns, Vanessa Thomas and Graeme Smith
The family of slain suspected bank robber Manish Ohdavji stand by their claim the 22-year-old was an engineering student at Ryerson — and they have the documents to prove it.
They are refuting claims made this week by the Toronto Star, and the Toronto Sun and Ryerson, that Ohdavji was leading a double life and wasn’t really a Ryerson student.
“I’ve got his timetable and book receipts,” said Rahul Singh, Ohdavji’s younger brother, who has a different last name. “He was definitely a student,” he said Tuesday, after showing the Eyeopener a copy of the fall ’97 timetable, which included Ohdavji’s student identification number.
Ohdavji was shot Friday after police watched five young men enter a Rexdale bank at 3 p.m. They assaulted two employees and left with bags of cash, escaping in a Jeep driven by a sixth man.
Dubbed the “Cherokee bandits” by police, the group was suspected in several other bank and retail robberies.
All five suspects were apprehended after a car chase. Ohdavji, later found to be unarmed, was shot by police during the arrest. He died of multiple gunshot wounds.
Ian Marlatt, of Ryerson community relations said Ohdavji wasn’t registered at the school, but after the Eyeopener told Marlatt they had seen a copy of Ohdavji’s timetable he said: “We didn’t say he wasn’t a student.”
But Tuesday, Ryerson public affairs again denied Ohdavji was registered.
According to Ryerson’s Student Guide for 1997/98, a person will be considered a “registered student” if they have picked up their timetable during the registration period, and are in good financial standing with the university.
Ohdavji had pre-registered in the spring and had picked up his timetable for the fall term. Although he hadn’t paid his outstanding tuition fees totalling $3,874.34, he was still in good financial standing at the time of his death, because fees weren’t due until Sept. 30.
Dr. Juliana Carvalho was teaching physics class Tuesday where Ohdavji should have been.
“His name was on my class list,” she said. “He was registered, that’s all I can tell you.”
According to the engineering department at Ryerson, the courses on Ohdavji’s timetable were those of a first-year industrial engineering student, not a second-year mechanical student, as the Star had reported Sunday, but then refuted Tuesday.
Last winter, Ohdavji was registered as a continuing education student at Ryerson, studying calculus, but failed because of non-attendance.
Monday afternoon, after Ohdavji’s funeral, his brother tried to come to grips with the loss of his brother, outside the family home on Secroft Cres., in the Jane St./Finch Ave area.
“Right now I have no answers. He was a compassionate, generous guy,” said Singh.
Ohdavji’s best friend, Shawn Carter said, “it was an unnecessary loss. He was a quiet person.”
Five men were arrested in the case and have their bail hearings this week.