'Kanishka' victims' families charge Canadian Government with cover-up to contain civil damages

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Ottawa (Canada), May 9 (ANI): Relatives of the victims killed in the June 26, 1985 bombing of the Air India flight "Kanishka" have accused the Canadian Government of quietly releasing new documents that contain evidence that officials had advance warning of the calamity that was to take place.

They further suggested that former Prime Minister Brian Mulroney's office covered up a key report to limit civil damages.

The public hearings ended more than a year ago and a final report has yet to be issued. But over the past year, federal government documents have continued to be declassified and handed to the commission, reports the Globe and Mail.

A report released Friday by the joint counsel to Air India Victims Families Association says these documents represent key evidence that should have been presented during the inquiry so that further questions could have been asked.

Among the many new documents is a statement that on June 26, 1985, three days after the bombing, an agent with the Canadian Security Intelligence Service said an RCMP officer in Richmond, B.C., was looking into a CB broadcast.

"Tonight, tonight, VIA. Tonight, we are going to bomb," states the police intercept.

The victims' families question whether this message was intercepted before the bombing and what the RCMP did with the information.

Further in Friday's submission, titled "Cover-up to diminish compensation," the families association points to a new government document showing the Prime Minister's Office was involved in keeping a key Canadian Aviation Safety Board report out of the hands of an inquiry in India known as the Kirpal Inquiry.

The report concluded the plane crashed as a result of a bomb placed in interlined luggage.

"The decision taken at the PMO meeting was that the report itself may not be presented to Kirpal but that the author of the report would be put on the stand and his testimony could be entered as just another piece of testimony for Kirpal."

News of an alleged cover-up has frustrated families.

Promode Sabharwal, 69, whose daughter died in the crash, said that "of course" Canadian investigators should have shared their investigative documents with Indian investigators.

"It's fair," he said. "[It will] look bad? So what? Everybody knows it is bad." (ANI)

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