Toronto, July 20
The targeted killing of Ripudaman Singh Malik, the Sikh man acquitted in the tragic 1985 Air India Kanishka terrorist bombing case, has all the hallmarks of a professional murder-for-hire person and it could be a 'difficult investigation'," according to British Columbia's former solicitor general.
On July 15, Malik was shot dead in Surrey, British Columbia. Malik and co-accused Ajaib Singh Bagri were acquitted in 2005 of mass murder and conspiracy charges related to the two bombings in 1985 that killed 331 people.
Kash Heed made the comments during an interview with CTV News on Saturday while discussing the challenges he believes investigators will face in finding Malik's killer -- or killers.
"These are the hallmarks of a hit person, or hit persons, doing this type of work, and it's quite common,” Kash Heed said, referencing the similarities to other shootings that have occurred.
"It's going to be a difficult investigation, and the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) and other law enforcement agencies are really going to have to step up their game and try and find a confidential informant,” Heed said, adding that he believes police will have to find ways to guarantee the safety of anyone who assists with the investigation.
“There are people that will know what occurred to Malik a couple of days ago in Surrey, B.C.,” Heed said. “But they're not going to come forward if, in fact, they fear for their safety.”
Malik was acquitted of murder and conspiracy charges in the Kanishka bombing case in March 2005.
Homicide investigators have said they believe Malik was targeted but that the motive for the shooting is unclear, urging the public not to speculate on the matter.
On July 16, Canada's top homicide unit released a footage showing a white car that it says was linked to the targeted killing of Malik and urged the public not to jump to conclusions over the motive as it investigates the complex high-profile case.
The Integrated Homicide Investigation Team (IHIT) released an eerie video Friday of a white Honda CRV driving through the parking area of the complex where Papillon Eastern Imports, which Malik founded as a Gastown store in the early 1970s, is based, Toronto Sun newspaper reported.
There appears to be more than one person inside, it said.
The killing prompted mixed reactions from the community, with many mourning Malik as the co-founder of the Khalsa School and Khalsa Credit Union. At the shooting scene, some who knew him were visibly shaken as officers swarmed the complex.
Others who continue to suspect Malik was involved in the Air India attack had more complicated feelings as they continue to seek accountability for the bombing.
The 1985 Air India bombing is among the worst terrorist attacks in Canadian history and in the history of the airline.
On June 23, 1985, the Air India flight 182, carrying 329 people, including 268 Canadian citizens and 24 Indian citizens, flew from Toronto and stopped in Montreal from where it was en route to London and then onwards to its final destination Bombay.
The plane was flying 31,000 feet above the Atlantic Ocean when a suitcase bomb exploded in the front cargo, killing all on board.
Another bomb was meant to be planted in an Air India flight scheduled to take off from Japan but it exploded at Tokyo's Narita airport killing two baggage handlers.
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