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AI bomber faces fresh trial next week
Vancouver, Sep 1 (IANS):
Published on 2 Sep. 2010 12:54 AM IST
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Air India Kanishka bombing convict Inderjit Singh Reyat, who was released last year after spending 15 years in jail, faces a fresh perjury trial from Sep 9. If convicted, he faces another 14 years in jail.
Reyat was the only person jailed in the 1985 Air India bombing by Khalistani extremists to avenge the Indian Army operation at the Golden Temple against Sikh militants in 1984.
The Kanishka flight 182 from Montreal to Delhi was blown off mid-air near the Irish coast June 23, 1985. All 329 passengers, mostly Indian Canadians, were killed, making it the worst aviation attack in history till 9/11 happened. Another bomb, meant for another Air India flight, also went off at Tokyo airport the same day, killing two baggage handlers.
Militants had planted both the bombs at Vancouver airport in two unaccompanied suitcases which were transferred to the connecting Air India flight and Tokyo-bound flight at Toronto airport.
After his arrest, Reyat, an electrical mechanic, admitted to testing the bomb that blew off at Tokyo airport for which he got 10 years in jail in 1991. After this, he was given another five years in jail for his role in the Kanishka bombing.
While in jail that he had agreed to testify during the trial of Air India suspects - Ripudaman Singh Malik and Ajaib Singh Bagri - in 2003. But during his testimony, Reyat is said to have lied 27 times, leading to acquittal of Malik and Bagri. Wearing a dark suit, Reyat appeared the British Columbia Surpreme Court here Tuesday when a new jury was selected for the case. Addressing the jury, judge Mark McEwan urged jurors to resist researching this case on the internet. Researching the case is “absolutely against your oath. These days, it is so easy to do on the internet. I tell you in the strongest possible terms to resist the temptation. It is very important to decide only on the basis of evidence in the courtroom,’’ the judge told the jury.
The jurors will hear three or four days of evidence before the lawyers make their legal arguments. No witnesses will be called and the case will be decided on the basis of transcripts of Reyat’s testimonies in 2003. If convicted, Reyat could face up to 14 years in jail.
Though the two suspects, Malik and Bagri, were acquitted in the 2005 Air India trial verdict, 20 Canadian investigators are still actively pursuing leads in the case.

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