Air India Flight 182: Wikis


Note: Many of our articles have direct quotes from sources you can cite, within the Wikipedia article! This article doesn't yet, but we're working on it! See more info or our list of citable articles.


From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Air India Flight 182

Air India Boeing 747-237B (VT-EFJ), similar to the one used for Flight 182 at Montréal-Mirabel International Airport in 1983
Occurrence summary
Date 23 June 1985 (1985-06-23)
Type Bombing
Site Atlantic Ocean South of Ireland
Passengers 307
Crew 22
Injuries 0
Fatalities 329 (all)
Survivors 0
Aircraft type Boeing 747-237B
Aircraft name Emperor Kanishka
Operator Air India
Tail number VT-EFO
Flight origin Montréal-Mirabel International Airport, Montreal, Quebec, Canada
1st stopover London Heathrow Airport, London, England, United Kingdom
Last stopover Palam International Airport, New Delhi, India
Destination Sahar International Airport, Mumbai, India

Air India Flight 182 was an Air India flight operating on the Montréal-London-Delhi-Bombay route. On 23 June 1985, the airplane operating on the route was blown up in midair by a bomb in Irish airspace. The incident represents the largest mass murder in modern Canadian history. The explosion and downing of the carrier occurred within an hour of the related Narita Airport Bombing.

The plane, a Boeing 747-237B (c/n 21473/330, reg VT-EFO) named Emperor Kanishka, exploded at an altitude of 31,000 feet (9,400 m) and crashed into the Atlantic Ocean. While some passengers survived the initial explosion and subsequent decompression, none survived the impact. In all, 329 people perished, among them 280 Canadian nationals, mostly of Indian birth or descent, and 22 Indians.[1]

Investigation and prosecution took almost 20 years and was the most expensive trial in Canadian history, costing nearly CAD $130 million. A special Commission found the accused perpetrators not guilty and they were released. The only person convicted of involvement in the bombing was Inderjit Singh Reyat, who pleaded guilty in 2003 to manslaughter in constructing the bomb used on Flight 182 and received a five-year sentence. He was refused parole in July 2007.

In September 2007, the Commission investigated reports, initially disclosed in the Indian investigative news magazine Tehelka[2] that a hitherto unnamed person, ram sharma Rode, had masterminded the explosions. This report appears to be inconsistent with other evidence known to the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP).[3]

The Canadian government launched a Commission of Inquiry in 2006.[4]


Pre-incident timeline

The Boeing 747-237B Emperor Kanishka flew TorontoMontréal as AI181 and MontréalLondonDelhiBombay as AI182. It was delivered to Air India on 29 June 1978.

On 20 June 1985, at 0100 GMT, a man calling himself Mr Singh made reservations for two flights on 22 June: one for Jaswand Singh to fly from Vancouver to Toronto on Canadian Pacific Air Lines Flight 086, and one for "Mohinderbel Singh" to fly from Vancouver to Tokyo on Canadian Pacific Air Lines Flight 003, and connect onward on Air India Flight 301 to Bangkok.

At 0220 GMT on the same day, another call was made, changing the reservation in the name of Jaswand Singh from CP 086 to CP 060 (flying from Vancouver to Toronto). The caller also asked to be wait-listed on AI 181 from Toronto to Montréal and AI 182 from Montréal to Bombay.

At 1910 GMT, a man paid for the two tickets with $3,005 in cash at a CP ticket office in Vancouver. The names on the reservations were changed: Jaswand Singh became M Singh and Mohinderbel Singh became L Singh.

On 22 June 1985, at 1330 GMT, a man calling himself Manjit Singh called to confirm his reservations on Air India flight 181/182. He was told he was still wait-listed, and was offered alternative arrangements, which he declined.

Day of the bombing

Air India Flight 182 departed from Montréal for London, en route to Delhi and Bombay. 329 people were on board; 307 passengers and 22 crew. Capt. Hanse Singh Narendra served as the Commander,[5] and Capt. Satinder Singh Bhinder served as the First Officer;[6] Dara Dumasia served as Flight Engineer.[7] Many of the passengers were traveling to visit families and friends.[8]

At 07:14:01 GMT, the Boeing 747, "squawked 2005"[9] (a routine activation of its aviation transponder), disappeared, and the aircraft started to disintegrate in mid-air. No 'mayday' call was received by Shannon International Airport Air Traffic Control (ATC). ATC asked aircraft in the area to try to contact Air India, but to no avail. By 07:30:00 GMT hrs ATC declared an emergency and requested nearby cargo ships and the Irish Naval Service vessel LÉ Aisling to look out for the aircraft.

By 09:13:00hrs GMT, the cargo ship Laurentian Forest had discovered the wreckage of the aircraft and many bodies floating in the water. Fifty-five minutes after the loss of the aircraft, a suitcase checked in by one of the accused perpetrators exploded at Japan’s Narita Airport, killing two baggage handlers and injuring four other individuals nearby. The suitcase was on its way to another airliner at Narita.


[citation needed]

Nationality Passengers Crew Total
 Canada 270 0 270
 United Kingdom 27 0 27
 India 1 21 22
 Soviet Union 3 0 3
 Brazil 2 0 2
 United States 2 0 2
 Spain 2 0 2
 Finland 1 0 1
 Argentina 0 1 1
Total 307 22 329

Air India 182 bomb

At 15:50 GMT on 22 June, Singh checked in at Vancouver International Airport for Canadian Pacific Air Lines Flight 60 to Toronto and was assigned seat 10B. He asked that his suitcase, a dark brown, hard-sided Samsonite suitcase, be transferred to Air India Flight 181 and then to Flight 182. A Canadian Pacific Air Lines agent initially refused his request to inter-line the baggage, since his seat from Toronto to Montréal and Montréal to Bombay was unconfirmed, but later relented. [10]

At 16:18 GMT, the Canadian Pacific Air Lines Flight 60 to Toronto Pearson International Airport departed without Mr. Singh.

At 20:22 GMT, Canadian Pacific Air Lines Flight 60 arrived in Toronto twelve minutes late. Some of the passengers and baggage, including the bag Mr Singh had checked in, were transferred to Air India Flight 181.

At 00:15 GMT (now 23 June), Air India Flight 181 departed Toronto Pearson International Airport for Montréal-Mirabel International Airport 1 hour and 40 minutes late. The aircraft was late because a "fifth pod", a spare engine, was installed below the left wing to be flown to India for repairs. The plane arrived in Montréal-Mirabel International Airport at 01:00 GMT. At Montréal, the Air India flight became Flight 182.

At 07:15 GMT, Air India Flight 182, which had departed Montréal-Mirabel International Airport bound for London Heathrow Airport, disappeared. Air traffic controllers at the Shanwick Oceanic Control Center near Shannon International Airport heard a crackling sound on the radio before the plane vanished. The plane was due to arrive at 08:15 GMT.

A Commemorative plaque, presented to the citizens of Bantry, Ireland by the Canadian Government for their kindness and compassion to the victims of Air India Flight 182.

A bomb in the forward cargo hold had exploded while the plane was in mid-flight at 31,000 feet at 51°3.6′N 12°49′W / 51.06°N 12.817°W / 51.06; -12.817Coordinates: 51°3.6′N 12°49′W / 51.06°N 12.817°W / 51.06; -12.817[11]. The bomb caused rapid decompression and consequent in-flight breakup. The wreckage settled in 6,700 feet (2,000 m) deep water off the south-west Irish coast 120 miles (190 km) offshore of County Cork.

If the one hour and forty minute delay in leaving Toronto Pearson International Airport had not happened, Air India Flight 182 might have been at London Heathrow Airport at the time of the explosion, with an outcome similar to that of the Narita Airport bomb which had exploded fifty five minutes earlier.


The bomb killed all 22 crew and 307 passengers including 84 children (aged 12 and under), and 51 youth (aged 13–17). Post-accident medical reports graphically illustrated the outcomes of the passengers and crew. Of the 329 persons on board, 131 bodies were recovered; 198 were lost at sea. The bodies recovered included 30 children. Eight bodies exhibited "flail pattern" injuries, indicating that they exited the aircraft before it had hit the water. This, in turn, was a sign that the airplane had broken up in mid-air. Twenty-six bodies, including twelve children, showed signs of hypoxia (lack of oxygen). Twenty-five bodies, mostly victims who were seated near windows, showed signs of explosive decompression. This included seven children. Twenty-three bodies had signs of "injuries from a vertical force". Twenty-one passengers were found with little or no clothing.[citation needed]

One official quoted in the report stated, "All victims have been stated in the PM reports to have died of multiple injuries. Two of the dead, one infant and one child, are reported to have died of asphyxia. There is no doubt about the asphyxial death of the infant. In the case of the other child (Body No 93) there was some doubt because the findings could also be caused due to the child undergoing tumbling or spinning with the anchor point at the ankles. Three other victims undoubtedly died of drowning."[12]

The vessel Guardline Locator from the UK, with sophisticated sonar equipment aboard, and the French cable laying vessel the Léon Thévenin, with its robot submarine Scarab, were dispatched to locate the flight data recorder (FDR) and cockpit voice recorder (CVR) boxes. The boxes would be difficult to find and it was imperative the search was commenced quickly. By 4 July, the Guardline Locator equipment had detected signals on the sea bed and on 9 July the CVR was pin-pointed and raised to the surface by the Scarab. The next day the FDR was located and recovered.


The main suspects in the bombing were the members of a Sikh separatist group called the Babbar Khalsa (banned in Europe and the United States as a proscribed terrorist group) and other related groups who were at the time agitating for a separate Sikh state called Khalistan in Punjab, India.

  • Talwinder Singh Parmar, a Canadian citizen born in Punjab, living in British Columbia was a high ranking official in the Babbar Khalsa, and his phone was being tapped by the Canadian Security Intelligence Service (CSIS) for three months before the bombing.[13] He was killed by the Punjab police in 1992 while in custody.
  • Inderjit Singh Reyat was living in Duncan on Vancouver Island and working as an auto mechanic and electrician.
  • Ripudaman Singh Malik was a Vancouver businessman who helped fund a credit union and several Khalsa Schools. Recently he was found not guilty of any involvement in the bombings.
  • Ajaib Singh Bagri was a mill worker living in Kamloops. He, along with Ripudaman Singh Malik was found not guilty in 2007.
  • Surjan Singh Gill was living in Vancouver as the self-proclaimed consul-general of Khalistan. He later fled Canada and is believed to be in hiding in London, England.[citation needed]
  • Hardial Singh Johal and Manmohan Singh were both followers of Parmar and active in the gurdwaras where he preached. On 15 November 2002, Johal died of natural causes at 55. He had allegedly stored the suitcases with bombs in the basement of a Vancouver school but was never charged in the case.
  • Daljit Sandhu is later named by a Crown witness as the man who picked up the tickets for the bombing. During the trial the Crown played a video from January 1989, in which Sandhu congratulated the families of Indira Gandhi's assassins and stated that "she deserved that and she invited that and that's why she got it". Sandhu was cleared by Judge Josephson in his 16 March judgment.
  • Lakhbir Singh Brar Rode, the leader of the Sikh separatist organization International Sikh Youth Federation (ISYF). An alleged confession by Parmar names him as the mastermind,[14] but the details do not appear to tally with other available evidence.[3]

On 6 November 1985 the RCMP raided the homes of the suspected Sikh separatists, Talwinder Singh Parmar, Inderjit Singh Reyat, Surjan Singh Gill, Hardial Singh Johal, and Manmohan Singh.


In the subsequent worldwide investigations over six years, many threads of the plot were uncovered:

  • The bombing was the joint project of at least two Sikh terrorist groups with extensive membership in Canada, USA, England and India. Their anger had been sparked by an attack on the Golden Temple, the holiest Sikh shrine in Amritsar in June 1984.[15]
  • Two men, identified by their tickets as M. Singh and L. Singh, checked in their bag bombs at Vancouver International Airport a few hours apart on 22 June 1985. Both men failed to board their flights.
  • The bag checked in by M. Singh exploded aboard Air India Flight 182.
  • The second bag, checked in by L. Singh, went on Canadian Pacific Air Lines Flight 003 from Vancouver to Tokyo. Its target was Air India Flight 301 due to leave soon with 177 passengers and crew bound for Bangkok-Don Mueang, but it exploded at the terminal in Narita Airport itself. Two Japanese baggage handlers were killed and four other people were injured.
  • The identities of these two men remain unknown.
  • A key player known to police variously as the "Third Man" or the "Unknown Male" was seen by CSIS agents who were following Talwinder Singh Parmar on 4 June 1985. Described as a "youthful man",[15] he went with Parmar on a ferry ride from Vancouver to Duncan on Vancouver Island where he and Parmar participated in a test explosion of a device manufactured by Inderjit Singh Reyat. The third man has also been linked to travels done under tickets bought under the name "L. Singh" or "Lal Singh".[16]

Air India Trial

The trial of those accused of the bombing, Sikh separatists Ripudaman Singh Malik and Ajaib Singh Bagri, became known as the "Air India Trial".

Reyat's Narita conviction

On 10 May 1991, after lengthy proceedings to extradite Reyat from England, he was convicted of two counts of manslaughter and four explosives charges relating to the Narita Airport bombing. He was sentenced to 10 years imprisonment.

Malik and Bagri charged

Fifteen years after the bombing, on 27 October 2000, RCMP arrested Malik and Bagri. They were charged with 329 counts of first-degree murder in the deaths of the people on board Air India Flight 182, conspiracy to commit murder, the attempted murder of passengers and crew on the Canadian Pacific flight at Japan's New Tokyo International Airport (now Narita International Airport), and two counts of murder of the baggage handlers at New Tokyo International Airport.

Reyat turns witness

On 6 June 2001, RCMP arrested Reyat on charges of murder, attempted murder, and conspiracy in the Air India bombing. On 10 February 2003, Reyat pleaded guilty to one count of manslaughter and a charge of aiding in the construction of a bomb. He was sentenced to five years in prison. He was expected to provide testimony in the trial of Malik and Bagri, but prosecutors were vague.

The trial proceeds between April 2003 to December 2004 in Courtroom 20,[17] more commonly-known as "the Air India courtroom". At a cost of $7.2 million, the high-security courtroom was specially-built for the trial in the Vancouver Law Courts.


On 16 March 2005, Justice Ian Josephson found Malik and Bagri not guilty on all counts, since the evidence was inadequate:

I began by describing the horrific nature of these cruel acts of terrorism, acts which cry out for justice. Justice is not achieved, however, if persons are convicted on anything less than the requisite standard of proof beyond a reasonable doubt. Despite what appear to have been the best and most earnest of efforts by the police and the Crown, the evidence has fallen markedly short of that standard.[18]


In a letter to the Attorney General of British Columbia, Malik has demanded compensation from the Canadian government for wrongful prosecution in his arrest and trial. Malik owes the government $6.4 million and Bagri owes $9.7 million in legal fees.[citation needed]

Reyat's perjury trial

In February 2006, Inderjit Singh Reyat was charged with perjury with regard to his testimony in the trial. The indictment was filed in the Supreme Court of British Columbia and lists 27 instances where he allegedly misled the court during his testimony. Reyat had pleaded guilty to constructing the bomb but denied under oath that he knew anything about the conspiracy.

In the verdict, Justice Ian Josephson said: "I find him to be an unmitigated liar under oath. Even the most sympathetic of listeners could only conclude, as do I, that his evidence was patently and pathetically fabricated in an attempt to minimize his involvement in his crime to an extreme degree, while refusing to reveal relevant information he clearly possesses."

On 3 July 2007, with perjury proceedings still pending, Reyat was denied parole by the National Parole Board who concluded he was a continued risk to the public. The decision meant Reyat had to serve his full five-year sentence, which ended 9 February 2008.[19]

Reyat's perjury trial began in March 2010 in Vancouver, but was abruptly dismissed on March 8th, 2010. The jury was dismissed after ‘biased’ remarks about Reyat by a woman juror.[20] A new jury will be chosen from March 15.

Alleged confession by Parmar in 1992

In July 2007, the Indian investigative weekly, Tehelka, reported that fresh evidence had emerged from a confession by militant Talwinder Singh Parmar to the Punjab police days before his killing by Punjab Police on 15 October 1992.[2] According to this article, this evidence had been collected by the Punjab Human Rights Organisation (PHRO), a Chandigarh-based group that had been conducting interviews of Parmar's associates for over seven years.

Subsequently, a translation of the confession was presented to the Inquiry Commission on 24 September. The confession which had been billed as "seismic evidence", had elements that had already been investigated by RCMP, and some details were found to be false.[3]

The confession had identified the mysterious Third Man or "Mr. X" as Lakhbir Singh Brar Rode, noted Sikh militant and nephew of Jarnail Singh Bhindranwale. Insp. Lorne Schwartz said that the RCMP had interviewed Lakhbir in Pakistan in 2001. At the time, he had pointed to several others as having a hand in the bombing. Also, it was unlikely that Lakhbir was Mr. X, Schwartz claimed, because Mr. X appeared considerably younger.[14]

Also, the RCMP had known about the purported confession for several years. They believed, despite official denials, that Parmar had been captured alive, interrogated and only then killed.

The new evidence was presented by officials of the PHRO, which had carried out a seven year investigation. The retired Punjab Police DSP Harmail Singh Chandi, who had personally been involved in the confession, did not testify. Chandi had travelled to Canada in June to present the evidence to the Inquiry Commission, but had not testified since he could not obtain a guarantee of anonymity.[14] The story was leaked in Tehelka after his return to India.

The Commission of Inquiry into the Investigation of the Bombing of Air India Flight 182' expressed the view in their dossier that "Talwinder Singh Parmar was the leader of the Babbar Khalsa, a pro-Khalistan organization at the heart of radical extremism, and it is now believed that he was the leader of the conspiracy to bomb Air India flights"[21]

Plot details

The purported confession presented the following story:

"Around May 1985, a functionary of the International Sikh Youth Federation came to me (Parmar) and introduced himself as Lakhbir Singh and asked me for help in conducting some violent activities to express the resentment of the Sikhs. I told him to come after a few days so that I could arrange for dynamite and battery etc. He told me that he would first like to see a trial of the blast...After about four days, Lakhbir Singh and another youth, Inderjit Singh Reyat, both came to me. We went into the jungle (of British Columbia). There we joined a dynamite stick with a battery and triggered off a blast. ...
Then Lakhbir Singh, Inderjit Singh and their accomplice, Manjit Singh, made a plan to plant bombs in an Air India plane leaving from Toronto via London for Delhi and another flight that was to leave Tokyo for Bangkok. Lakhbir Singh booked a seat from Vancouver to Tokyo and then onwards to Bangkok, while Manjit Singh booked a seat from Vancouver to Toronto and then from Toronto to Delhi. Inderjit prepared the bags for the flights, which were loaded with dynamite fitted with a battery and transistor." - from the confession by Talwinder Singh Parmar[2]

Lakhbir Singh Brar Rode, who is the head of the banned terrorist organization, International Sikh Youth Federation, has an Interpol Red corner warrant A-23/1-1997 against him.[2] In 1998, he was arrested for carrying 20 kg of RDX explosive near Kathmandu, Nepal.[22] The PHRO has stated that at the time of Flight 182, Rode was an undercover Indian Agent and that Parmar was murdered in order to protect his identity and India's role in the bombing.[2] Many details of this story do not seem to be consistent with other evidence available with the investigating team.[3]

'A Canadian tragedy'

Air India Flight 182 memorial in Toronto
Monument and playground in Stanley Park, Vancouver, commemorating victims of Flight 182, dedicated July, 2007.

Twenty years after the downing of Air India Flight 182, families gathered in Ahakista, Ireland, to grieve. Governor General Adrienne Clarkson, on the advice of Prime Minister Paul Martin declared the anniversary a national day of mourning. During the anniversary observances, Martin said that the bombing was a Canadian problem, not a foreign problem, saying: "Make no mistake: The flight may have been Air India's, it may have taken place off the coast of Ireland, but this is a Canadian tragedy."[23]

In May 2007, pollster Angus Reid Strategies released the results of public opinion polling of whether Canadians viewed the bombing as a Canadian or Indian tragedy and who they blamed for it. Forty-eight per cent of respondents regarded the Air India bombing as a Canadian tragedy, while 22 per cent of Canadians thought of the terrorist attack as a mostly Indian affair. Thirty-four per cent of respondents thought both the Canadian Security Intelligence Service (CSIS) and airport security personnel deserved a great deal of the blame for the 1985 Air India bombing. In addition, 27 per cent of respondents believed the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) were largely to blame, while 18 percent mentioned Transport Canada.[24]

Ken MacQueen and John Geddes of Macleans said that the Air India bombing was referred to as "Canada's 9/11." They said "In truth, it was never close to that. The date, June 23, 1985, is not seared into the nation's soul. The events of that day snuffed out hundreds of innocent lives and altered the destinies of thousands more, but it neither shook the foundations of government, nor transformed its policies. It was not, in the main, even officially acknowledged as an act of terrorism."[25]

Key timelines

The bombing of Air India Flight 182 and the Narita airport launched several investigations, inquiries and trials. The trial of Malik and Bagri is known as the Air India Trial; events relating to the incident are listed below in chronological order.

  • July, 1985 – Canadian Prime Minister Brian Mulroney calls Indian Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi to offer his condolences, but does not call the victims' families to do the same. This causes an uproar among Indo-Canadians who feel that although this is the deadliest terrorist act to date, it is not taken seriously because the victims although mostly Canadian were not Caucasian.[26][27]
  • 8 November 1985 – The RCMP charge Talwinder Singh Parmar and Inderjit Singh Reyat with weapons, explosives and conspiracy offenses after a raid on their homes. Reyat is convicted of the weapons offence and receives a fine of $2,000. Because of a lack of evidence, the charges against Parmar are dropped and no link to Air India is established.
  • 4 February 1986 – The Indian Government's Kirpal Commission of Inquiry reaches the same conclusion as the Canadian Aviation Safety Board.
  • 8 December 1989 – Following a lengthy court battle the British government agrees to extradite Reyat to Canada.
  • 10 May 1991 – Inderjit Singh Reyat receives a ten year sentence after being convicted of two counts of manslaughter and four explosives charges relating to the Narita Airport bombing.
  • 9 October to 15, 1992 – Talwinder Singh Parmar interrogated by Punjab Police; apparently names Lakhbir Singh Brar Rode as mastermind, and confesses to supplying the dynamite for the operation. The confession is destroyed, since Lakhbir is said to have been an Indian agent.
  • 15 October 1992 – Talwinder Singh Parmar is reportedly killed by Indian Police during a gun battle in the village of Kang Arian in Punjab.
  • 27 October 2000 – Ripudaman Singh Malik and Ajaib Singh Bagri are arrested by the RCMP. They are charged with 329 counts of first-degree murder in the deaths of the people on board Air India Flight 182, conspiracy to commit murder, the attempted murder of passengers and crew on the Canadian Pacific flight at Japan's New Tokyo International Airport (now Narita International Airport), and two counts of murder of the baggage handlers at New Tokyo International Airport.
  • 4 June 2001 – The British government gives Canada permission to charge Inderjit Singh Reyat in connection with the bombings.
  • 6 June 2001 – Inderjit Singh Reyat is arrested by the RCMP facing charges of murder, attempted murder, and conspiracy in the Air India bombing.
  • 10 February 2003 – Reyat pleads guilty to one count of manslaughter and a charge of aiding in the construction of a bomb. He was sentenced to five years in jail. At the time he was expected to provide testimony in the trial of Malik and Bagri but later claimed he couldn't remember.
  • April 2003 – The trial of Malik and Bagri begins after being delayed by pre-trial motions and problems with defence counsel.
  • 18 May 2004 – The Crown prosecution rests its case in the trial of Malik and Bagri after calling 80 witnesses.
  • 31 May 2004 – Malik and Bagri's defence begins.
  • 19 October 2004 – Closing arguments begin.
  • 4 December 2004 – The judge presiding over the 'Air India Trial', Justice Ian Josephson, says the verdict will be delivered on 16 March 2005.
  • 16 March 2005 – Justice Ian Josephson delivers the verdict for Ripudaman Singh Malik and Ajaib Singh Bagri: Not guilty on all counts.

I began by describing the horrific nature of these cruel acts of terrorism, acts which cry out for justice. Justice is not achieved, however, if persons are convicted on anything less than the requisite standard of proof beyond a reasonable doubt. Despite what appear to have been the best and most earnest of efforts by the police and the Crown, the evidence has fallen markedly short of that standard.[18]

  • 6 January 2006 – Inderjit Singh Reyat, the only man convicted in the 1985 Air India bombing, was due to receive a parole hearing in March. Instead Reyat was charged with perjury on his testimony on the Air India Trial. He was denied parole and brought back to British Columbia to face the new charges. He has indicated he will plead not guilty.[28]
  • 26 July 2007 The investigative magazine, Tehelka, releases reports that a retired police officer has maintained records of Parmar's confession identifying the mastermind as Lakhbir Singh Brar Rode. Most of the confession is already known to RCMP, and the new aspects appear dubious.

Previous government knowledge

The Canadian government had been warned by the Indian government about the possibility of terrorist bombs aboard Air India flights in Canada. And over two weeks before the crash CSIS reported to the RCMP that the potential threat to Air India as well as Indian missions in Canada, was high.[29]

Destroyed evidence

In his verdict Justice Josephson cited "unacceptable negligence" by CSIS when hundreds of wiretaps of the suspects were destroyed. Of the 210 wiretaps that were recorded during the months before and after the bombing, 156 were erased. These tapes continued to be erased even after the terrorists had become the primary suspects in the bombing.

CSIS claims the wiretaps contained no relevant information but a memo from the RCMP states that "There is a strong likelihood that had CSIS retained the tapes between March and August 1985, that a successful prosecution of at least some of principals in both bombings could have been undertaken."[30]

On 4 June 1985, CSIS agents Larry Lowe and Lynn McAdams trailed Talwinder Singh Parmar and Inderjit Singh Reyat to Vancouver Island. The agents reported to the RCMP that they had heard a noise like a "loud gunshot" in the woods. Later that month Flight 182 was bombed. After the bombing the RCMP went to the site and found remains of an electrical blasting cap.[29]

The suspects in the bombing were apparently aware that they were under surveillance, because they used pay phones and talked in code. Translator's notes of the wiretaps records this exchange between Talwinder Parmar and a follower named Hardial Singh Johal on the same day the tickets were purchased on 20 June 1985.
Parmar: Did he write the story?
Johal: No he didn't.
Parmar: Do that work first.[31]

After this call a man called the CP Air and booked the tickets and left Johal's number. Shortly afterwards, Johal called Parmar and asked him if he "can come over and read the story he asked for". Parmar said he would be there shortly.

This conversation appears to be an order from Parmar to book the tickets used to bomb the planes. Because the original wiretaps were erased by CSIS, they were inadmissible as evidence in court.

Murdered witness

Tara Singh Hayer, the publisher of the Indo-Canadian Times and a member of the Order of British Columbia, had provided an affidavit to the RCMP in 1995 claiming that he was present during a conversation in which Bagri admitted his involvement in the bombings.[32]

While at the London offices of fellow Sikh newspaper publisher Tarsem Singh Purewal, Hayer claims he overheard a meeting between Purewal and Bagri. In that meeting Hayer claims that Bagri stated that "if everything had gone as planned the plane would have blown up at Heathrow airport with no passengers on it. But because the plane was a half hour to three quarters of an hour late, it blew up over the ocean."

On 24 January of the same year, Purewal was killed near the offices of the Des Pardes newspaper in Southall, England, leaving Hayer as the only other witness.

On 18 November 1998, Hayer was shot dead while getting out of his car in the garage of his home in Surrey. His statement is now inadmissible as evidence in court. Hayer had previously survived an earlier attempt made on his life in 1988 but was paralyzed and thereafter used a wheelchair. As a consequence of his murder, the affidavit was inadmissible in court.

CSIS connection

During an interview with Bagri on 28 October 2000, RCMP agents describe Surjan Singh Gill as an agent for CSIS saying the reason that he resigned from the Babbar Khalsa was because his CSIS handlers told him to pull out.[33]

After the subsequent failure of CSIS to stop the bombing of Flight 182, the head of CSIS was replaced by Reid Morden. In an interview for CBC Television's news program, The National, Morden claims that CSIS "dropped the ball" in its handling of the case. A Security Intelligence Review Committee cleared CSIS of any wrongdoing. However, that report remains secret to this day. The Canadian government continues to insist that there was no mole involved.[citation needed]

Books, memorials and recognition

  • Canadian journalists Brian McAndrew and Zuhair Kashmeri from the Globe and Mail wrote Soft Target. The journalists present details of various activities before the actual bombing and allege that CSIS and the Indian High Commission in Canada knew about the incident in advance. The authors also allege that Indian High Commission in Canada misled RCMP and CSIS for years and worked on spying and destabilizing Sikh community in Canada. In 1992, the Royal Canadian Mountain Police indicated that it possessed no evidence to support the allegations made in the book that the Government of India was involved in the Air India bombing.[34]
  • Betrayal: The Spy Canada Abandoned, a book by David Kilgour covers detailed accounts of a spy who, the author claims, attended the meetings planned by several nations to undertake this task in which "There was no concern for human life; only political objectives mattered."
  • Eight months after the bombing, Province newspaper reporter Salim Jiwa published "Death Of Air India Flight 182".
  • 1988, "The Management of Grief" by Bharati Mukherjee in the collection The Middleman and Other Stories, an Indian-Canadian woman who lost all her family in the bombing narrates her experiences. Mukherjee also co-authored, The Sorrow and the Terror: The Haunting Legacy of the Air India Tragedy (1987) with her husband, Clark Blaise.
  • 1988, "The Satanic Verses" by Salman Rushdie begins with a hijacked Indian airliner exploding over the English Channel. While never mentioned by name, the passage is an allusion to Air India 182.
  • 1986 - A memorial unveiled in Ireland at Ahakista, West Cork on the 1st anniversary of the bombing.
  • May 2005 - Loss of Faith: How the Air-India Bombers Got Away With Murder is published by Vancouver Sun reporter Kim Bolan ISBN 978-0-7710-1131-3
  • 28 May 2007 - Jiwa and fellow reporter Don Hauka publish Margin of Terror: A reporter's twenty-year odyssey covering the tragedies of the Air India bombing ISBN 978-1552637722
  • 21 June 2007 - CBC-TV announced the start of filming for Flight 182, a documentary by Sturla Gunnarsson.[35]
  • 22 June 2007 - A memorial was unveiled in Toronto, 22 years after the bombing. Most of the people killed were from Toronto. The memorial features a sundial and a wall bearing the names of the victims, which is oriented toward Ireland. The sundial's base consists of stones from all provinces and territories of Canada, as well as the countries of the other victims.[36]
  • 17 April 2008 - The documentary Air India 182 (previously called Flight 182) premieres at the Hot Docs Canadian International Documentary Festival in Toronto.
  • 22 June 2008 - The documentary Air India 182 has its network TV premiere on CBC-TV in Canada.
  • 2008, The Soul of All Great Designs by Neil Bissoondath, inspired by mainstream Canada's cultural denial of the Air India tragedy, is published by Cormorant Books. ISBN 9781897151327 [37]
  • 2008 - Mayday airs its episode "Explosive Evidence". It is broadcast on networks such as Discovery Channel Canada and National Geographic Channel.

Air India Flight 182 and Pan Am Flight 103

Three years after the Air India bombing, on 21 December 1988, Pan Am Flight 103 was destroyed over Lockerbie in Scotland by a terrorist bomb. 270 people were killed in the crash including 259 on-board and 11 on the ground in Lockerbie. The method of the attack was similar to that of Flight 182; terrorists boarded a bag containing a bomb in a radio amplifier onto the 747 and never boarded the plane. Although the official report released by Indian Authorities made several recommendations about security measures regarding both airports and airlines,[38] nothing is done until Lockerbie.

As in Air India Flight 182, Pan Am Flight 103 also disintegrated at the altitude of 31,000 feet.

See also


  1. ^ In Depth: Air India - The Victims, CBC News Online, 16 March 2005
  2. ^ a b c d e Vikram Jit Singh (issue dated 2007-08-04). "Operation Silence". Tehelka. Retrieved 2007-07-27. 
  3. ^ a b c d Kim Bolan, (25 September 2007). "Confession had false details, inquiry told: RCMP 'fully' checked out alleged Parmar confession, inspector tells commissioner". Vancouver Sun. 
  4. ^ "Commission of Inquiry into the Investigation of the Bombing of Air India Flight 182". Canadian government. Retrieved 2009-06-01. 
  5. ^ "Keel, Paul; et. al (June 24, 1985). "Jumbo crashes killing 325". The Guardian.,,4954457-110875,00.html. 
  6. ^ "Two held for ’85 Kanishka crash". Associated Press. The Tribune. October 28, 2000. 
  7. ^ "Special Report: Air India Flight 182". Retrieved 2009-09-16. 
  8. ^ "Explosive Evidence." Mayday.
  9. ^ "CVR transcript Air India Flight 182 - 23 JUN 1985". Aviation Safety Network. Retrieved 2008-07-21. 
  10. ^ "Agents recalls checking fateful Air India bag," CBC
  11. ^ Report of the Court Investigating Accident to Air India Boeing 747 Aircraft VT-EFO, "Kanishka" on 23rd June 1985, Hon'ble Mr. Justice B.N. Kirpal Judge, High Court of Delhi, 26 February 1986.
  12. ^ [1]
  13. ^
  14. ^ a b c "Air India inquiry will hear of alleged Parmar confession". CBC News. 23 September 2007. Retrieved 2007-09-25. 
  15. ^ a b Salim Jiwa (28 April 2003). "Unsolved mysteries as Air India trial begins". 
  16. ^ Robert Matas (26 August 2004). "Mystery men key to plot, Air-India defence says". The Globe and Mail Print Edition, Page A6. Retrieved 2007-09-24. 
  17. ^ Courtroom 20:
  18. ^ a b "Supreme Court of British Columbia: Her Majesty the Queen Against Ripudaman Singh Malik and Ajaib Singh Bagri". Retrieved 2009-08-10. 
  19. ^ Air India bomb maker denied parole, CBC News with files from Canadian Press, 3 July 2007
  20. ^
  22. ^ "The RDX Files". India Today,. 2001-02-01. 
  23. ^ "Queen's Privy Council of Canada: Address by Prime Minister Paul Martin at the Air India Memorial Ceremony". 2008-10-10. Retrieved 2009-08-10. 
  24. ^ Canadians Assess Blame in Air India Bombing, Press Release, Angus Reid Global Monitor. Retrieved on 14 May 2007
  25. ^ MacQueen, Ken and John Geddes. "Air India: After 22 years, now's the time for truth." Macleans. May 28, 2007. Retrieved on December 17, 2009.
  26. ^ "Air India witness describes impact of wife's death". Retrieved 2009-08-10. 
  27. ^ The Canadian Press (2006-11-07). "Mulroney worried about country's image after Air India: documents". Retrieved 2009-08-10. 
  28. ^ [2]
  29. ^ a b
  30. ^ "CBC News In Depth: Air India - Bombing of Air India Flight 182". Retrieved 2009-08-10. 
  31. ^ "Scanned Document" (PDF). Retrieved 2009-08-10. 
  32. ^ "Scanned Document" (PDF). Retrieved 2009-08-10. 
  33. ^
  34. ^ Commission of Inquiry into the Investigation of the Bombing of Air India Flight 182 TERRORISM, INTELLIGENCE AND LAW ENFORCEMENT – CANADA’S RESPONSE TO SIKH TERRORISM [3] DOSSIER 2)
  35. ^ CBC commissions documentary on Air India tragedy, CBC Arts, 21 June 2007.
  36. ^ Toronto reveals Air India memorial, by Mark Medley, CanWest News Service, 22 June 2007
  37. ^ "The Soul of All Great Designs at Cormorant Books". Retrieved 2009-08-10. 
  38. ^ Report of the Court Investigating Accident to Air India Boeing 747 Aircraft VT-EFO, "Kanishka" on 23rd June 1985, Hon'ble Mr. Justice B.N. Kirpal Judge, High Court of Delhi, 26 February 1986.p.172-175

External links

Got something to say? Make a comment.
Your name
Your email address