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Kanishka probe blames government, recommends ex-gratia payment

The final report into the 1985 Air India Kanishka bombing today, recommended ex-gratia payment to the families of 329 victims, mostly of Indian origin as it blamed the Canadian government for its failure to prevent the country's worst terrorist attack.

world Updated: Jun 17, 2010 23:03 IST

The final report into the 1985 Air India Kanishka bombing on Thursday, recommended ex-gratia payment to the families of 329 victims, mostly of Indian origin as it blamed the Canadian government for its failure to prevent the the country's worst terrorist attack.

"A cascading series of errors contributed to our police and security forces" failing to stop the bombing, Justice John Major, the head of the Kanishka bombing inquiry commission recommended today, nearly 25 years after the tragedy.

Canadian authorities should have known that Air India Flight 182 was a terrorism target, Major said.

"The government needs to take responsibility to avoid further failure and to prevent a return to a culture of complacency," said Major in his 3,200 pages report.

It called for an independent body to be created to recommend an appropriate ex gratia payment and to oversee its distribution, though it offered little relief to the families of those who were killed in the tragedy.

"This was the largest mass-murder in Canadian history," said Major, adding the "finest tribute" that could be paid the victims of the bombing is to create a rigorous aviation security system.

Air India Flight 182 on June 23, 1985, which was travelling from Canada to India, crashed into the Atlantic killing all 329 people on board.

The report blamed the Canadian government for its failure to prevent the tragedy and recommended the appointment of a powerful security czar to resolve disputes between conflicting interests among security agencies.

It observed that Air India bombing was a case of institutional failures of Canadian Securities and Prosecution institutions and called for a security czar with direct access to the Prime Minister to sort out disputes between the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) and Canada’s spy agency Canadian Security and Intelligence Services (CSIS).

Canada's national security adviser should be given sweeping new powers to resolve disputes between the RCMP and CSIS, Major told a live press conference in Ottawa.

In the much awaited final report from the commission that investigated the bombing of Air India plane, he observed that national security continues to be badly organised between the RCMP and Canada's spy agency.

He also recommended radical transformation in prosecution.

The national security adviser, who currently provides advice to the prime minister on security and intelligence issues, should also be the final arbiter where the two agencies disagree, Major said.