No deadline for Air India Kanishka inquiry report

February 13th, 2009 - 1:13 pm ICT by IANS  

Toronto, Feb 13 (IANS) The Canadian public inquiry into the 1985 Air India bombing, which was expected to submit its final report last year, is nowhere near completion.
A statement by the inquiry commission Thursday said only this: “The work of the commission is progressing well.”

The statement added that inquiry commissioner John Major “continues to work on his report and expects to release it later this year”.

A spokesperson for the inquiry commission, which Thursday released written submissions from various parties in response to the documents submitted by the government, said there was no deadline for submission of the final report.

Set up in May 2006 after the Air India trial which resulted in the acquittal of two suspects, Ajaib Singh Bagri and Ripudaman Singh Malik, the commission is to make far-reaching recommendations to avert future terror events.

The commission is headed by former Canadian Supreme Court chief justice John Major.

All 329 people on board the Air India Kanishka flight 182 were killed when it was brought down in the ocean near Ireland by a mid-air bomb explosion June 23, 1985.

The bomb was hidden in a suitcase which originated in Vancouver.

“The commission’s mandate is very complicated. It is taking its time to do its job well. As soon as the report is ready, we will come out with it immediately,” inquiry commission spokesperson Michael Tansey told IANS.

“There are 17,000 classified documents that are being read. And the commission has over a million pages of evidence submitted to it. So all this is taking time for the submission of the final report to the government,” Tansey said.

The commission concluded its hearings last February.

The commission statement added: “In reviewing submissions and documents after the public hearings concluded, commission counsel found references to new information that was considered important to the commission’s work in the area of civil aviation security.

“The briefings, and the review of additional documents by commission counsel since the conclusion of the public hearings, are part of the commission’s exercise of due diligence to ensure that all relevant evidence is uncovered and examined as the commission completes its work.”

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