News East West
VANCOUVER: Inderjit Singh Reyat, the only man jailed in the 1985 Air India Kanishka bombing and later jailed again for nine years for perjury, has expressed remorse for his crime and wants his jail term reduced to 6 to 7 years.
His lawyer Ian Donaldson has moved the British Columbia Appeal Court here seeking reduction in jail sentence as Reyat is remorseful for his role in the bombing plot and for lying 19 times during the trial of the two main accused – Ripudaman Singh Malik and Ajaib Singh Bagri – in 2003.
Pleading that his client has already been severely punished, Reyat’s lawyer Donaldson told the court that he (Reyat) has “repeatedly expressed remorse for his actions that led to his sentencing, and that it was an error for the trial judge to say at the perjury trial that because he didn’t tell the truth when called at the Malik and Bagri trial, he’s not remorseful for his own actions.”
But government (Crown) lawyer Len Doust pleaded that Reyat’s jail sentence should not be reduced as he has been evasive about revealing many facts about the bombing and never been remorseful.
Air India Kanishka flight 182 from Montreal to Delhi was blown off mid-air near the Irish coast on June 23, 1985, killing all 329 people and crew on board. Within an hour, another bomb meant for another Air India flight from
Tokyo to Mumbai went off during luggage transfer at Tokyo airport, killing two baggage handlers.
Both the bombs were hidden in suitcases and checked in at Vancouver airport. Vancouver-based Khalistani extremists had planned the bombing to avenge the 1984 army action at the Golden Temple to flush militants. Plot leader
Talwinder Singh Parmar, who escaped to India, was killed by police in Punjab in 1992.
Reyat – an electrical mechanic – had assembled and tested the bomb that went off at Tokyo airport for which he was given 10 years in jail in 1991. After this, he was given another five years in jail for his role in the Kanishka bombing.
After his release, he was charged in 2010 with lying under oath during the trial of the two main accused – Ripudaman Singh Malik and Ajaib Singh Bagri – in 2003 when he was brought from jail to testify. Both Malik and Bagri were eventually found not guilty and freed in March 2005.
During his perjury trial, the jury listened to recordings of his testimony during the trial of Malik and Bagri. In his testimony, Reyat said a Babbar Khalsa leader had asked him to assemble a bomb, but he never asked what the device will be used for.
But later he testified that he helped plot leader Talwinder Singh Parmar in his mission to get a bomb to blow up some heavy Indian target because of his anger against the Indian government over Operation Bluestar.
Reyat also lied when he said he didn’t know the name of a man who stayed with him for a week in early June 1985 to take over bomb-making after Reyat failed to satisfy the plot leader.
Though the Canadian government spent more than $130 million on the Air India trial, none of the main suspects was found guilty.