RCMP says it continues to investigate 1985 bombing of Air India plane

Three decades on, the RCMP says its investigation into the Air India bombing — the worst terrorist act in Canadian history — remains “active and ongoing.”

OTTAWA — Three decades on, the RCMP says its investigation into the Air India bombing — the worst terrorist act in Canadian history — remains “active and ongoing.”

On June 23, 1985, an explosion ripped apart Air India Flight 182 en route to New Delhi, killing all 329 people aboard, most of them Canadians of Indian descent.

Authorities believe Sikh extremists fighting for an independent homeland sabotaged the Boeing 747, which crashed into the Atlantic Ocean off the coast of Ireland.

A federal commission of inquiry would conclude that a “cascading series of errors” by police, intelligence officers and air safety regulators allowed the attack to take place.

The complex investigation of the crime was hampered by difficulty raising the wreckage from the ocean floor, agency turf wars and challenges persuading witnesses to come forward.

Talwinder Singh Parmar, a prime suspect, died in 1992. In 2003, Inderjit Singh Reyat pleaded guilty to manslaughter. Two years later a British Columbia judge found Ajaib Singh Bagri and Ripudaman Singh Malik not guilty.

But police have not closed the file.

A “dedicated team” of Mounties continues to probe the attack on the jetliner and a related explosion at Tokyo’s Narita airport, said Sgt. Annie Linteau, an RCMP spokeswoman.

“Over the last 30 years, the Air India investigation is the longest and certainly one of the most complex domestic terrorism investigations that the RCMP has undertaken in the history of the Canadian judiciary,” Linteau told The Canadian Press.

“We have continuously worked with various international police agencies in Europe, Asia and North America, who have been extremely co-operative.”

The Mounties rarely discuss ongoing investigations, and Linteau declined to provide additional details.

Bal Gupta of the Air India Victims Families Association said he had not heard from the RCMP in more than a year.

“I don’t know anything about progress,” said Gupta, who lost his wife in the bombing.

“In principle, any murder file is not closed unless the culprits are sentenced.”

Gupta plans to attend an Air India memorial in Toronto on Tuesday, while his son Susheel will be at one in Ottawa. Other ceremonies will take place in Montreal and Vancouver.

Justice Minister Peter MacKay joined community members and families of victims early Tuesday at a ceremony in the community of Ahakista on Ireland’s southwest coast.

“For families, we do remember our near and dear ones every of our lives, and on June 23 it becomes even more acute,” said Bal Gupta.

Susheel regrets that his two young children will not meet their grandmother. “They say time heals wounds. I don’t know if it does.”

The federal inquiry into the bombing, led by former Supreme Court justice John Major, said in 2010 that fundamental changes to intelligence handling, criminal prosecutions and aviation security were needed to prevent another deadly attack in the skies.

The Conservative government has enacted some recommendations and it continues to work on others.

Susheel Gupta applauded the government’s investment of $10 million in the Kanishka Project, which has funded research into terrorism.

“I think things are better than they were 30 years ago, and I just hope that things will continue to improve.”

Just Posted

Climate change’s impact on outdoor hockey discussed in Red Deer

Red Deer River Watershed Alliance held a forum Friday at the Alberta Sports Hall of Fame

Collision between Red Deer transit bus and truck investigated by RCMP

No one on bus was hurt, truck driver had minor injuries

Eckville man facing about 80 child sexual exploitation charges in court

More than half a million photos and videos found on electronic devices

Good-bye ice and snow, hello potholes on Red Deer roads

City workers will be spending 20 hours a day on various road repairs

Red Deer woman wins $1 million in lottery

A Red Deer woman spent $5 on a lottery ticket and became… Continue reading

WATCH: Fashion show highlights Cree designers

The fashion show was part of a Samson Cree Nation conference on MMIW

Puddle splashing: A rite of spring

Is there anything more fun than driving through water-filled potholes in the… Continue reading

Special evaluations can help seniors cope with cancer care

Before she could start breast cancer treatment, Nancy Simpson had to walk… Continue reading

Home renovator Mike Holmes oversees reno for paralyzed Humboldt Broncos player

AIRDRIE, Alta. — One of Canada’s most recognizable home renovators has acted… Continue reading

The endless war against invasive species

Group looks to protect native ecological environments in Alberta

WATCH: Fashion show highlights Cree designers

The fashion show was part of a Samson Cree Nation conference on MMIW

Flyers, Blackhawks, Sabres and Lightning to Europe in ‘19-20

Jakub Voracek was psyched at the mere suggestion the Philadelphia Flyers might… Continue reading

Danish receiver Nielsen looking to defy the odds again, this time at CFL combine

TORONTO — He’s coming to the CFL’s national combine as a definite… Continue reading

Mom with kids on YouTube channel suspected of child abuse

MARICOPA, Ariz. — A woman who operated a popular YouTube channel featuring… Continue reading

Most Read