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Indian Airlines hijacker deported to India

india Updated: Jan 27, 2010 12:27 IST

Canada on Tuesday deported the mastermind of the 1984 Indian Airline hijacker to India.

Parminder Singh Saini, 46, who took refuge in Toronto 15 years ago and faced deportation to India, was put on the plane back to India earlier on Tuesday, officials said. Saini was escorted by officials of the Canadian Border Security Agency (CBSA) to Toronto airport to board a flight for India.

It was not known on which airline flight he was put on his one-way journey to India.

Saini was the leader of five Sikh militants who hijacked an Indian Airlines flight from Srinagar to Delhi on July 6, 1984, with 255 passengers on board and took it to Lahore. The hijack drama ended after a 17-hour standoff, with the hijackers surrendering to the Pakistani authorities.

After a trial in Pakistan, Saini was sentenced to death by a Lahore court. But the death sentence was commuted to life term. He was released after 10 years and asked to leave Pakistan.

In 1995, Saini entered Canada illegally under the name of Balbir Singh with a fake Afghan passport arranged by the Pakistanis. He maintained that he lied about his identity for fear of being deported to India.

After his arrival in Toronto, he earned a BA degree and a law degree even as he fought his deportation order.

Last year, Saini applied to the Law Society of Upper Canada to allow him to practice law here. But his application was turned down earlier this month on grounds of his criminal past. Appearing before the Law Society last year, he regretted his past and said he deserves a shot at life in this country.

Referring to the 1984 hijacking, he said, "I had no legitimate right to do that. It's not legal.''

Based on his terrorist past and lying about his identify, the Law Society ruled that Saini has failed to prove that he is a man of good character and thus doesn't deserves to practice in Canada.

Saini was attached to his brother's immigration consultancy firm Singh and Associates based in Mississauga on the outskirts of Toronto.