Two Indian-born Sikhs have been acquitted by a Canadian court of planning the 1985 explosion that destroyed an Air India jumbo jet over the Atlantic Ocean, killing 329 people.
Dismissing the two-year case that cost more than £55m, Ian Josephson, Supreme Court Justice for British Columbia, said key witnesses for the prosecution were not reliable. The verdict in Vancouver stunned many in the courtroom, among them dozens of relatives of the victims. "Why did they even have this trial?" asked Rattan Singh Kalsi, whose daughter was on board the flight.
The two defendants, Ripudaman Singh Malik and Ajaib Singh Bagri, had been charged with murder and other charges involving the deaths of 331 people - the passengers and crew of the Air India flight, and two Japanese baggage handlers who were killed at Tokyo airport at almost the same time, when a suitcase intended for another Air India jet exploded in transit.
Air India flight 182, which originated in Vancouver and was destined for London and then Bombay, crashed into the ocean as it was approaching the coast of Ireland at 7.14am on 23 June 1985. Investigators concluded that there was an explosion in the forward hold.Reuse content