A Canadian Court has ordered Ripudaman Singh Malik, one of two men acquitted in the 1985 Kanishka bombings to repay over $ 5.8 million in legal fees and interest to the British Columbia government.
Malik had signed an "interim funding agreement" with the provincial government in 2002 to fund his 11-lawyer defence team.
In 2004, Malik and his co-accused Ajaib Singh Bagri were acquitted of the mass murder of 331 people including 22 Indians in two separate 1985 bombings targeting Air India planes.
But after the trial, Malik's lawyers opposed government application for repayment stating the agreement he signed was void because of duress.
While passing the order, the British Columbia Supreme Court Justice Mark McEwan observed that Malik has not explained to the court why he is under duress and as a result ruled against him.
When Malik was charged in the Kanishka bombing in October 2000, he claimed his net worth was more than $ 10 million. But when he went to trial in 2003, he claimed bankruptcy and claimed he owed thousands of dollars to his own family members. That's when the government agreed to lend him the money.