Two men boarded a plane in Vancouver for a flight to
Toronto at 1 p.m. on June 22, 1985, moments before a flight with a bomb
in the luggage compartment took off, the Air-India trial heard yesterday.
The two men, using tickets issued to B. Singh and S.
Singh, have never been identified.
However, defence lawyer Michael Code suggested yesterday
the two men, who sat together on the flight, might have been part of
the conspiracy responsible for the Air-India disaster.
In the final days of submitting evidence in the mammoth
international terrorism trial, the defence has suggested an alternative
scenario to raise doubts about the prosecution theory. The defence has
argued the Air-India conspiracy was much bigger and more complex than
the prosecution has suggested.
Travel records, wiretaps, surveillance reports and long-distance
phone records show several people were in contact with the alleged mastermind
of the conspiracy, Talwinder Singh Parmar (who was killed in India in
1992), and with Inderjit Singh Reyat, who has been convicted of helping
to make the bombs.
However, the records and reports also show that defendants
Ajaib Singh Bagri and Ripudaman Singh Malik at every crucial step were
not part of the conspiracy, the court has been told.
Yesterday, Mr. Code pinpointed several trips that the
defence says may have been linked to the scheme but did not involve
either Mr. Bagri or Mr. Malik.
On June 3, 1985, documents show an unidentified "East
Indian" male travelled from Toronto to Vancouver. Mr. Code said
wiretaps, surveillance reports and long-distance tolls suggest the unidentified
male may be "Mr. X," the man who went with Mr. Parmar to a
wooded area on Vancouver Island on June 4, 1985, to test a homemade
bomb made by Mr. Reyat.
Mr. Code also drew attention to airline tickets issued
in the name of Lal Singh.
One of the ticket reservations used to check in luggage
with explosives was booked in the name of L. Singh. The court has also
heard that Lal Singh was a Sikh militant wanted by the U.S. Federal
Bureau of Investigation. He was believed to be in Vancouver at the time
of the Air-India disaster.
It was not clear yesterday whether the person named
Lal Singh who used the airline tickets was the person previously linked
to the conspiracy.
The airline documents showed an unidentified male travelling
under the name of Lal Singh was on a flight from Vancouver to Toronto
on June 7, 1985. He returned to Vancouver on June 20. Two men, Joga
Singh and G. Singh, were also on the flight.
They arrived at 10 a.m., Mr. Code said. Surveillance
by the Canadian Security Intelligence Service picked up three or four
unidentified people at Mr. Parmar's home later on the same day. Mr.
Code suggested the unidentified people were Lal Singh, Joga Singh and
Two days later, on June 22, 1985, two men travelled
back to Toronto using tickets issued to B. Singh and S. Singh. A flight
with a bomb in the luggage compartment left Vancouver at 9:18 a.m. that
day. A second flight with a bomb left at 1:37 p.m. The flight with the
two Singhs left at 1 p.m.
In an agreed statement of facts, the court was also
told yesterday that phone records showed a call from Mr. Parmar's house
to Mr. Bagri's house on June 23, 1985, the day of the disaster.
Mr. Bagri and Mr. Malik are charged with murder in the
death of the 331 people killed on June 23, 1985, in explosions of two
bombs. The trial continues.