Vancouver: In a major decision on Thursday, the Canadian supreme court allowed the government to recover of legal fees of $5.2 million from Air India Kanishka bombing accused Ripudaman Singh Mailk who was acquitted in the case in 2005.
A Vancouver-based millionaire businessman, Malik had expressed his inability to pay his legal fees for the trial, forcing the provincial British Columbian government to shell out $5.2 million to his defence lawyers.
Kanishka flight 182 from Montreal to Delhi was blown off near Ireland June 23, 1985, killing all 329 people on board. Within an hour, another bomb meant for another Air India flight went off at Tokyo's Narita airport, killing two baggage handlers. Both the bombs were planted by Khalistani extremists to avenge the India army action at the Golden Temple in 1984.
Ripudaman Singh Malik had expressed his inability to pay his legal fees for the trial.
While plot mastermind Talwinder Singh Parmar, who fled to India, was killed in a police encounter in Punjab in 1992, Malik - along Ajaib Singh Bagri and Inderjit Singh Reyat - was charged and arrested in 2000 for their role in the plot.
Only Reyat, who admitted his role in making the two bomb was jailed, while Malik and Bagri were acquitted in 2005 after their trial in Vancouver.
In its unanimous verdict on Thursday, the Supreme Court of Canada allowed the provincial British Columbia government to recover $5.2-million in legal fees from Malik.
While applying for bail after his arrest in 2000, Malik had filed evidence that he and his wife had net worth of $11 million.
But within a year when the trial process began, he claimed he is broke and asked government to pay his legal fees.
Though the Vancouver-based British Columbia supreme court rejected his application for public funding, his family falsified their assets to get the government to pay $5.2 million for his legal fees.
After his release in March 2005, Malik was asked by the government to repay $5.2 million. But the issue has been dragging in courts since then after Malik challenged the government's decision.
The provincial government has seized documents in raids on Malik to prove that his family misrepresented its assets in court.