Man Acquitted in 1985 Air India Bombing Is Shot Dead

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(Newser)

A man acquitted in a terrorist bombing that killed 329 people aboard an Air India flight in 1985 was slain Thursday in a possible targeted shooting, Canadian authorities say. Officials said the victim was Ripudaman Singh Malik, who with co-defendant Ajaib Singh Bagri was found not guilty in March 2005 of murder and conspiracy in that Air India bombing and a failed second one on June 23, 1985. A witness who works a car wash in Surrey, British Columbia, said he heard shots Thursday morning and ran outside to find Malik unconscious in his car, the AP reports.

In a statement, the Integrated Homicide Investigation Team said: “We are aware of Mr. Malik’s background, though at this time we are still working to determine the motive. We can confirm that the shooting appears to be targeted and there is not believed to be any further risk to the public.” Police said shortly after the attack that a vehicle believed to be used in the shooting was found engulfed in fire a few blocks away. In Malik’s trial, British Columbia Supreme Court heard that a suitcase bomb was loaded onto a plane at Vancouver’s airport and then transferred in Toronto to Air India Flight 182. The aircraft crashed into the Atlantic Ocean off the coast of Ireland, killing 329 passengers and crew.

About an hour later, a bomb destined for another Air India plane exploded prematurely at Tokyo’s Narita Airport, where two baggage handlers died. Sikh extremist Inderjit Singh Reyat, the only man convicted in the bombings, testified for the prosecution at Malik and Bagri’s trial and was later convicted of perjury. “The media will always refer to him as someone charged with the Air India bombing,” Malik’s son, Jaspreet Malik, wrote on Facebook. “The media and RCMP never seemed to accept the court’s decision and I pray today’s tragedy is not related.”

(Read more Canada stories.)

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