Police giving update on investigation into killing of Ripudaman Singh Malik

Police are providing an update Friday on their investigation into the death of a former suspect in the Air India bombings.

Ripudaman Singh Malik, 75, was shot dead near the site of one of his businesses in Surrey, B.C., on Thursday morning.

The Integrated Homicide Investigation Team (IHIT) is set to provide an update on the case at 10 a.m. PT on Friday.

CBC News will livestream the news conference.

Malik and his co-accused, Ajaib Singh Bagri, were acquitted in 2005 of mass murder and conspiracy charges related to the pair of bombings in 1985 that killed 331 people, mostly from the Toronto and Vancouver areas.

In recent years, Malik served as chairman with Khalsa School and managed two of the private schools’ campuses in Surrey and Vancouver. He was also president of the Vancouver-based Khalsa Credit Union (KCU), which has more than 16,000 members.

IHIT confirmed Malik’s identity on Thursday and acknowledged his high-profile link to the bombings, but said officers were still working to determine a motive.

“We can confirm that the shooting appears to be targeted and there is not believed to be any further risk to the public,” said IHIT Sgt. Timothy Pierotti.

The death of Malik, an influential businessman who had significant influence within Canada’s Sikh community, drew mixed reactions on Thursday. Some said the community had lost one a respected advocate, while others thought only of the bombings.

“I was surprised when I heard the news. It just brings back and triggers all the memories of the last 37 years and the pains and the failures of the last 37 years,” said Deepak Khandelwal, an executive with the Air India Victim’s Families Association who lost two sisters in the bombings.

Only one man was convicted in relation to the 1985 bombings. Inderjit Singh Reyat served 30 years for lying during two trials, including Malik’s, and for helping to make the bombs at his home in Duncan, B.C.

Crown lawyers alleged the bombing was a terrorist attack against state-owned Air India, an act of revenge by B.C.-based Sikh extremists against the Indian government for ordering the army to raid Sikhism’s holiest shrine, the Golden Temple in Amritsar, in June 1984.

Malik, then 58, and Bagri, then 55, were acquitted in 2005 after a highly publicized trial that stretched on for years.

In the end, Justice Ian Josephson found the Crown’s key witnesses, who testified they heard the two defendants confess, were biased and unreliable. 

A man with a long grey beard and glasses is flanked by other men at a press scrum. He is wearing a black turban and a grey suit.
Ripudaman Singh Malik, centre, was shot and killed in Surrey on Thursday. Malik was acquitted in the bombing of an Air India flight in 1985. (Richard Lam/The Canadian Press)

The national Air India inquiry later concluded Talwinder Singh Parmar was the mastermind behind the deadly mid-air bombing. Parmar, 48, was shot and killed by police in India in 1992.

Another suspect, Hardial Singh Johal, died in November 2002.

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