Air India Bombing: New Story After 25 Years

The Bomber Appeals Perjury Conviction

Inderjit Singh Reyat. TV Grab by Neeraj Bhushan.
Inderjit Singh Reyat. TV grab by Neeraj Bhushan.

Opening a new chapter in a saga that has haunted Canada for a quarter century, Inderjit Singh Reyat — the only man convicted over the 1985 bombing of an Air India jet — has appealed against his perjury conviction in his alleged accomplices’ trial and the sentencing.

In his notice of appeal, Inderjit, 58, said the judge erred in law and misdirected the jury and failed to tell jurors there was no evidence and that the nine-year sentence imposed this January 7 was harsh and excessive.

He was convicted last November for lying 19 times in September 2003 at the Vancouver trial of Ripudaman Singh Malik and Ajaib Singh Bagri, accused of being Sikh separatists. The trial ended in 2005 and his alleged accomplices were acquitted.

Air India flight 182 from Canada to India blew up off the Irish coast, killing all 329 people on board – most of them Canadian citizens visiting Indian relatives – on 23 June 1985. In another bombing on the same day, a suitcase meant for a second Air India plane exploded at Tokyo’s Narita Airport, killing two baggage handlers.

In 1991, Inderjit was sentenced to 10 years in prison after being found guilty of manslaughter and explosives charges in connection with the Tokyo bombing, and in 2003, he pleaded guilty to manslaughter in connection with the Air India bombing and was sentenced to five years in prison in Canada.

In 2005, two Canadian Sikhs, Ripudaman Singh Malik and Ajaib Singh Bagri, were acquitted after a lengthy trial on all counts in connection with the Air India bombing, with the judge citing witnesses’ lack of credibility and a lack of evidence. Inderjit was charged with perjury for his testimony under oath in that trial. He had been out on bail since 2008 before he was sentenced in January 2011.

In sentencing Inderjit, Supreme Court Judge Mark McEwan said the former auto electrician had refused to tell the truth about what he knows and that his expressions of remorse “ring hollow to me.” Now, with this appeal, his lawyer has asked for a new trial.

“I know that he has the right to appeal but I just hope that he’s denied,” said Perviz Madon, whose husband Sam was killed in the 1985 bombing.

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