By Ismail Shakil
OTTAWA (Reuters) – Canadian police confirmed on Friday that a man shot dead in British Columbia on Thursday was Ripudaman Singh Malik, a Sikh businessman acquitted in connection with the 1985 Air India bombing that killed 329 people.
Police said they have not established a motive for the killing or have evidence to suggest whether the incident was connected to the airline attack.
Malik and Ajaib Singh Bagri, a worker in British Columbia, were acquitted in 2005 of charges related to the attack on Air India Flight 182, which exploded over the Atlantic Ocean in 1985 in one of history’s deadliest bombings of a commercial airliner.
“We understand this is a high-profile international story. However, we urge not to speculate as to the motive as our homicide investigators will be following the evidence,” Royal Canadian Mounted Police Sergeant David Lee said at a news conference.
Lee, from the RCMP’s homicide investigation team, said the killing is believed to be targeted and sought dash-cam footage or any other information the public might have on the incident.
On Thursday morning, police, responding to a reported shooting, had found a man, now confirmed as Malik, suffering from gunshot wounds that resulted in his death at the scene in Surrey, British Columbia.
Lee said CCTV footage shows that a white Honda CRV arrived near the scene of the incident shortly before the shooting and waited for Malik, 75.
Police found the car burned and left on a nearby street.
Canadian police were criticized for their investigation of the Air India attack, and the government formally apologized in 2010 to families of the victims, saying authorities failed to act on information that could have prevented the attack or catch those responsible.
Authorities in Canada and India have alleged the attack was plotted by Sikh extremists living in Canada as revenge on India for its storming of Sikhism’s Golden Temple in Amritsar in 1984.
(Reporting by Ismail Shakil in Ottawa; editing by Jonathan Oatis)