Inquiry into Air India bombing nearly done

Thu Jun 10, 2010 3:58pm EDT
 
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VANCOUVER (Reuters) - Results of four-year inquiry into the 1985 destruction of Air India Flight 182, and Canada's failure to catch those responsible for history's deadliest bombing of an airliner will be released next week.

The report, which also examined aviation security, terrorism financing, and Canada's ability handle major terror-related trials in the future, will be released on June 17 in Ottawa, the Air India Commission said on Thursday.

Relatives of the 329 people killed in the June 1985 attack had long demanded an inquiry, and the Canadian government eventually agreed after two men charged with the bombing where found not guilty of murder in 2005.

Flight 182 was blown up off the Irish coast while en route from Canada to India via London. Many of the victims were Canadian citizens returning to India to visit relatives.

The attack is widely thought to be the work of Canadian-based Sikhs fighting for an independent homeland in India, who wanted revenge for India's deadly 1984 storming of the Golden Temple, Sikhism's holiest shrine.

An attempt to blow up an Air India flight over the Pacific at the same time, instead killed two airport workers in Japan when that bomb exploded prematurely.

The media reported details of an alleged plot shortly after the bombings, but it took police about 15 years to charge anyone for the attack. A judge eventually found both men not guilty because of a lack of evidence.

Victims' relatives have long complained that police, as well as Canada's spy agency, ignored information about the plot that could prevented the bombing, and then destroyed evidence in a bungled investigation.

(Reporting Allan Dowd; editing by Rob Wilson)