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Canada Cites 1985 Jet Bomb Evidence

July 21, 1998

VANCOUVER, British Columbia (AP) _ Indicating they have nearly finished a 13-year investigation, Canadian police confirmed Tuesday they have given prosecutors a summary of evidence related to the 1985 bombing of an Air India jet that killed 329 people.

The attack has been linked to Sikh militants in British Columbia believed to have been seeking revenge on the Indian government for its treatment of the country’s Sikh minority _ especially a 1984 army assault on a Sikh temple.

Of those killed in the Air India disaster, 278 were Canadians _ mostly vacationing Hindus from Toronto and Montreal, which were the jet’s last stops before it was destroyed.

The initial summary of evidence compiled by the Royal Canadian Police is a prelude to a full brief that will be submitted later. Prosecutors will then have to decide if the 20 full-time investigators on the case have gathered enough evidence to secure convictions.

``No time frame has been set for the approval of charges _ if any _ by Crown counsel,″ RCMP Sgt. Russ Grabb said. ``The charge approval process will only commence once the comprehensive court brief has been submitted.″

No timetable has been set for that step, he said.

Air India Flight 182 was destroyed after it left Montreal for New Delhi and Bombay. A bomb explosion sent the jet into the Atlantic over Ireland’s southwest coast.

The bombing coincided with an explosion in luggage at Tokyo’s Narita airport as it was being transferred to an Air India flight. Two baggage handlers were killed.

Inderjit Singh Reyat, an electrician from the Vancouver Island community of Duncan, was arrested and convicted in the Narita bombing. He is serving a 10-year sentence at a jail east of Vancouver.

Reyat, 45, is also considered a suspect in the Air India bombing. Police told his parole hearing in March they wanted to charge him in that attack. Reyat was denied parole.

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