Daljit Singh Multani had a huge crowd of supporters in court Wednesday morning. So much support, there was no room to move in the hallways of the Fresno County courthouse. The huge crowd had just come out of the courtroom where Multani faced a judge on charges that he solicited another man's murder.
"We believe he is a very honest guy and a very religious guy, and he can't do this kind of thing," said Sikh community leader Harry Gill.
Outside the courthouse, the crowd grew larger -- above 100 -- and Multani's friends from the Sikh community stood behind a banner to show their support. Multani's wife stood with the crowd, but didn't want her face shown on TV.
A reporter asked Rachel Singh Multani, "What's it mean to you to see this many people from your religious community come out here and support your husband when he's accused of such a serious crime?"
"Well, this should speak for itself," she said. "He's a good man."
Multani has collected awards for his community service, even from Fresno Police Chief Jerry Dyer. But Dyer's department says Multani offered to pay $2,000 for the murder of Rama Kant Dawar -- a former business partner and city of Fresno planning commissioner.
Action News obtained court documents showing a police informant with a long criminal past is the main source of information against Multani. He recorded some conversations with his former boss, but he didn't wear the wire during one of the most important meetings -- the one where he claims Multani gave him the gun to kill Dawar. Multani's friends say it was a setup, and Dawar really has nothing to worry about.
"Rama is not afraid of anybody," Gill said. "I am very much sure Rama knows that too."
Dawar talked to Action News about fearing for his life when the murder-for-hire plot was first exposed, but he's keeping a low profile now. He didn't want to discuss Wednesday's show of support for the man accused of trying to kill him, but he said simply, "The Fresno Police Department saved my life. I thank them for that."
Multani is due back in court next month and his supporters say they'll see him through the entire process.