Originally from Punjab, Inderjit Singh Reyat was working as an auto mechanic and electrician in Vancouver Island, British Columbia when he plotted and executed the Air India flight Kanishka’s bombing over the coast of Ireland on June 23, 1985. All 329 passengers and crew died in the incident.
He was arrested on June 6, 2001, by Canadian police on charges of murder, attempted murder, and conspiracy in the bombing. He was convicted of procuring the dynamite, detonators and batteries used in the Kanishka bomb.
He was also convicted of the murder of two bag-handlers at the Narita International Airport in Tokyo when a second bomb blew up nearly simultaneously with the bomb on the Air India flight. He was the only person convicted in the twin incidents.
He served a total of 15 years for that crime and was later sentenced to nine more years in jail for perjury –repeatedly lying during the course of the trial which led to the release of two other accused Ripudaman Singh Malik and Ajaib Singh Bagri. He was released on January 28, 2016 after serving two-thirds of the nine-year sentence.
All throughout the trial Reyat remained silent, refusing to name anybody else for the crimes. At one point, he even said that he did not know one co-conspirator named Mr X who had stayed in his house with his family for week before the incident. The Canadian Broadcasting Company described his silence as ‘omerta’ — the mafia’s code of silence.