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Canada: Kanishka conspirator sentenced for perjury

January 08, 2011 03:06 IST

Inderjit Singh Reyat, the only man convicted in the 1985 Air India bombing that killed 329 people, was sentenced in Vancouver to nine years in prison for perjury during the trial of two men acquitted in the attacks.

In handing down his sentence, British Columbia Superior Court judge Mark McEwan observed Reyat was "nothing like a remorseful man."

"The effect of Reyat's perjury on the outcome of the trial is incalculable," Canadian Broadcasting Corporation said quoting Justice McEwan. Reyat will receive 17 months credit for time spent in pre-trial custody, reducing his sentence to seven years and seven months. Crown prosecutors had sought the maximum sentence for perjury of 14 years.

Reyat had been in custody since September 2010, when he was found guilty of perjury during the 2003 trial of Ripudiman Singh Malik and Ajaib Singh Bagri. The two men had been charged with conspiring to blow up Air India Flight 182 on June 23, 1985, and of causing another explosion on the same day that killed two baggage handlers at Narita Airport in Tokyo.

The aircraft was off the coast of Ireland, en route from Montreal to London, England, and New Delhi when an explosive device went off in the cargo hold, killing all 329 people aboard. Malik and Bagri were eventually acquitted. Seven years later, on September 18, 2010, the Crown proved that Reyat had lied repeatedly under oath during their trial.

For example, Reyat claimed never to have learned the name or other basic facts about an unnamed conspirator in the bombing, even though the man had stayed at Reyat's home on Vancouver Island for several days. At Friday's sentencing hearing, McEwan said much of the evidence Reyat gave under oath was inconsistent with common sense and that his lies, just months after the guilty plea as part of the deal that included his testimony, "bespoke a deep and abiding rejection of Canadian values."

Reyat's prospects for rehabilitation are slim, he said. Reyat served a 10-year sentence after being convicted in 1991 of two counts of manslaughter for making the bomb that exploded the same day at Tokyo's Narita Airport, killing two baggage handlers. He was sentenced to five years in a separate trial for his role in constructing the bomb that brought down the AirIndia flight.

Bal Krishna in Toronto
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