Canada launches broader Air India bomb inquiry

Canada will hold a public inquiry into the attack on Air India Flight 182, which killed 329 people, Prime Minister Stephen Harper said.

The broad-ranging inquiry will examine if security lapses that allowed the 1985 bombing have been fixed, and if police and Canada's spy agency have resolved problems that critics say led to a bungled criminal investigation and allowed two key suspects to walk free.

The probe will also examine if Canada has "adequate constraints on militant financing, in, from or through Canada," and if the court system is prepared to handle large and lengthy criminal trials such as the Air India case.

Harper's Conservative Party had criticized the previous Liberal government for agreeing to hold only a limited inquiry into the bombing, despite demands from victims' relatives for a broader review.

"It is hoped that our action will bring a measure of closure to those who still grieve for their loved ones," Harper told the House of Commons in Ottawa.

Air India Flight 182 was destroyed on June 23, 1985, off the Irish coast, killing 329 people on a flight from Canada to India via London. A near-simultaneous attack on a second Air India flight killed two Tokyo airport workers.

Investigators allege the bombings were the work of "radical Sikhs", however the previous case failed to find them guilty. Certainly it is clear that the community at large was angered at the Indian Government for massacreing hundreds of thousands of Sikhs in the 1984 Operation Bluestar on the Golden Temple (Sikh equivalent to the Vatican) its aftermath operations, as well as the proceeding Massacre of Sikhs on the streets of Delhi in the Anti-Sikh Pogroms in November.

Despite one of the longest and most expensive police investigations in Canadian history, prosecutors were unable to convict the two men charged with murder. A third person pleaded guilty to a reduced charge.

Police and prosecutors have said that they were not able to get enough evidence to charge other people linked to the bombings, although the investigation is still considered to be ongoing. What is clear throughout is that the criminal investigation was marked by controversy from its early stages.