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Panel to open hearing in A-I case

The hearings on the 1985 bombing case will take place on July 18 and 19 in Ottawa, a statement said.

india Updated: Jul 15, 2006 13:41 IST

The Commission of Inquiry into the 1985 bombing of Air-India's Kanishka flight, which left all 329 people aboard dead, will open public hearings into the case next week in the Canadian capital Ottawa.

The hearings will take place on July 18 and 19 in Ottawa, the Commission head John C Major said in a statement on Friday.

Two main accused in the case -- Ripudaman Singh Malik and Ajaib Singh Bagri -- were acquitted by a Canadian court last year after a lengthy, emotionally-charged trial.

The verdict left the families of the 329 victims devastated and looking for government intervention.

The Conservative Government responded by calling an inquiry to look into the investigation surrounding the bombing, including the relationship between intelligence services and police, and also Canada's anti-terror measures.

Malik, members of the victims' families, Air India as well as Sikh and Jewish groups are among 21 parties vying for standing in the Commission probe. Each would be allowed to make a 15-minute presentation to the Commission on July 18 and 19, Major, a retired Supreme Court justice, said.

The Commission will not establish guilt or innocence but is meant to recommend how to avoid a repetition of such tragedies.

Meanwhile, Malik would submit a written statement to the federal inquiry, 'The Canadian Press' reported.

Earlier, Malik had said he would show up if asked but a source close to the proceedings now says that he would simply submit a written statement, the report said, adding Malik could still be subpoenaed to testify as the inquiry progresses.