Two men charged with killing Canadian Sikhs acquitted in deadly 1985 Air India bombings

Two men charged with killing Canadian Sikhs acquitted in deadly 1985 Air India bombings

Two men have been arrested and charged with the targeted killing of Ripudaman Singh Malik in Canada.

Malik, the 75-year-old Canadian Sikh man acquitted in the 1985 Air India bombing, was shot and killed on 14 July while inside his vehicle in Surrey, British Columbia.

It has Canadian police arrested and charged Tanner Fox, 21, and Jose Lopez, 23, with first-degree murder of Malik, the Integrated Homicide Investigation Team (IHIT) said in a news release Wednesday.

The homicide squad along with the Surrey Royal Canadian Mounted Police, Integrated Forensic Identification Section and the BC Coroners Service were able to gather the evidence that led to the arrests, according to Superintendent Mandeep Mooker, an IHIT spokesperson.

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The suspects were reportedly arrested at their homes in Abbotsford and New Westminster on Tuesday.

“Through conventional investigative techniques and fantastic police work, we were able to identify and arrest two suspects in relation to this murder. Both of those people are known to police, Mooker said.

Both suspects have prior criminal records, according to court documents.

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Fox was convicted of assault in relation to a stabbing in Abbotsford in November 2019. He was sentenced to 119 days in jail. The 21-year-old was also convicted in April of resisting or obstructing a peace officer in December 2021. Fox is scheduled to appear in court in September on another aggravated assault charge related to an alleged April 8 offense in New Westminster.

Lopez was previously found guilty of assault causing bodily harm for an incident in Abbotsford in 2018. The 23-year-old was also charged in Kelowna last summer with nine felonies, including possession of a firearm with ammunition, violation of a court order to possess a firearm and resisting arrest.

The two men remain in custody and are scheduled for a bail hearing on August 10.

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While the motive of the suspects remains unknown, Jaspreet, Malik’s son, said he believes there is no connection between the Air India bombings and his father’s murder.

“No matter where the investigation goes and no matter how these allegations turn out, we have lost a great man,” Jaspreet said Tribune India. “We are pleased that the IHIT team has made progress and we support the work they are doing. At the same time, we are saddened that these two young men made such poor life choices. We trust the justice system to deal with them correctly and fairly.”

Malik and co-defendant Ajaib Singh Bagri were acquitted of murder and conspiracy charges in 2005 after being accused of the 1985 Air India terror attack that killed 331 people.

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Malik first emigrated to Canada from India in 1972 and reportedly became an influential member of British Columbia’s Sikh separatist movement. Malik served as chairman of the Khalsa School and was also president of the Khalsa Credit Union in Surrey.

Featured image via CBC News: The National

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