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Home > News > PTI

Kanishka accused flays Canada Govt for pursuing him for money

December 18, 2005 21:41 IST

Ripudaman Singh Malik, one of the main accused who was acquitted in the Air India bombing case, has flayed the Canadian government for "unfairly" pursuing him for money spent on his trial defence.

In a related development, Malik has also initiated a lawsuit in British Columbia Supreme Court in an attempt to reclaim his position as a director on the Khalsa Credit Union. "It's unfair, but there is nothing I can do... I have no money to fight them," Malik told a Canadian daily in an interview.

The Government has sent letters to the Vancouver-based millionaire businessman Malik and co-defendent in the Kanishka trial, Kamloops millworker Ajaib Singh Bagri, as a first step in recovering the loan. It has demanded that the two repay the$ 16 million the government spent on defence lawyers during the high-profile Air-India trial.

Malik confirmed Monday that he had received a letter from the government asking him to repay the cost of his trial."They told me they want the money. What can I say? It's not fair. Who knows what will happen now," he told the Globe and Mail newspaper.

Malik and Bagri were acquitted four-and-a-half years after they were charged with murder in the deaths of 331 people in two bomb explosions off the Irish Coast and Narita Airport in Japan on June 23, 1985.

The government has said both Malik and Bagri signed repayment agreements for loans to cover their legal expenses
during the trial. Legal fees for Malik's lawyers were about$ 6 million and$ 10 million for Bagri.

Malik was reported to have assets of about$ 10 million when he was arrested. After he was acquitted, he said
he was no longer a millionaire. Questioned as to why he was ever charged with the crime, he said the judge found the
evidence was "markedly short" of the judicial standard of proof of being beyond a reasonable doubt. "Why did the Crown present the case... why did the government do it?" He said.

However, he cannot afford to sue the government for wrongfully charging him, he said. "It cost money. I don't have
any. I owe so much," he said. Malik anticipates the government will sue him to recover the money.

"I will have to sell something, and I will have nothing," he said, adding, "If that happens, that will be most unfair."

Meanwhile, Malik has initiated a lawsuit inSupreme Court in an attempt to reclaim his position as a director on
the Khalsa Credit Union.

Last month, the BC Financial Institutions Commission removed Malik from the board of the financial institution he
helped establish in 1986 as a result of what it described in a ruling as his terrorist connections and his misleading
testimony in a court case over financing of his legal fees in the Air-India trial.

"I have never had links to any terrorist organization, "Malik stated in an affidavit filed in support of his appeal of the decision to remove him as a credit-union director. The Khalsa Credit Union has five branches, 16,000 members and more than$ 110 million in assets.



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