Malik, acquitted in deadly 1985 Air India bombing, killed in Canada

Sikh activist Ripudaman Singh Malik (C) smiles as he leaves a court in Vancouver March 16, 2005, after being found not guilty in the 1985 bombing of an Air India flight off the coast of the Irish coast. Malik and his co-defendant were both freed after a Supreme Court judge ruled the testimony against them was not credible. REUTERS/Lyle Stafford/File Photo

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OTTAWA, July 14 (Reuters) – A man was shot dead in British Columbia on Thursday. According to local media, it is Ripudaman Singh Malik, a Canadian Sikh businessman acquitted in connection with the 1985 Air India bombing that killed 329 people.

Police, in a statement responding to a Reuters request for information on Malik’s death, said they found a man with gunshot wounds when officers responded to a reported shooting just before 9:30 a.m. (1630 GMT).

The Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) statement did not name the man, but said he died at the scene in Surrey, British Columbia. An RCMP spokesperson said they could not name the victim and the investigation was ongoing.

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Local media, citing sources and a witness, reported that the man was Malik.

The bombing of Air India Flight 182, which exploded over the Atlantic Ocean in 1985, is one of the deadliest bombings in history against a commercial airliner.

Police alleged he was plotted by Sikh extremists living in Canada to exact revenge on India for its 1984 storming of the Golden Temple of Sikhism in Amritsar.

RCMP, in their statement Thursday, said the killing appeared to be targeted and they found a suspicious vehicle entirely engulfed in flames.

Authorities were still looking for the suspects and a second vehicle that may have served as a get-away vehicle, RCMP said.

Malik and Ajaib Singh Bagri, a sawmill worker in Kamloops, British Columbia, were charged in 2000 with bombing Flight 182.

They were also accused of killing two baggage handlers who died when a suitcase bomb, alleged by police as designed to destroy another Air India plane over the Pacific Ocean, exploded at Japan’s airport in Narita.

Both were acquitted of the charges in 2005 after a trial that lasted nearly two years and heard from 115 witnesses.

Canadian police have come under fire for an investigation that some say was botched and led to just one conviction – Inderjit Singh Reyat, who pleaded guilty in 2003 to manslaughter for helping to collect the materials used to make the bombs.

The Canadian government also formally apologized in 2010 to the families of Air India victims, saying authorities failed to act on information that could have prevented the attack or caught those responsible.

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Reporting by Ismail Shakil in Ottawa Editing by Matthew Lewis

Our standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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