Former MP Ujjal Dosanjh says he intends to challenge Ripudaman Singh Malik in court over his connection to the mid-air bomb explosion aboard an Air India flight that killed 329 people.
Mr. Malik earlier this week filed a civil lawsuit in B.C. Supreme Court against Mr. Dosanjh, alleging that Mr. Dosanjh had made untrue and damaging statements about him during the recent federal election and in a flyer that Mr. Dosanjh distributed.
Mr. Dosanjh responded to the lawsuit in a public statement distributed to the media on Friday.
Mr. Dosanjh stated that he hopes a civil trial arising from this action "will shed more light on how this heinous crime, originating from Canadian soil, was planned and carried out."
Mr. Malik will be forced to answer all relevant questions during the civil trial that he initiated, Mr. Dosanjh said.
"For the first time, Mr. Malik will have no immunity from being questioned in court about his relationship to the Air India bombing or the perpetrators themselves," Mr. Dosanjh said. "Mr. Malik did not testify in the Air India criminal trial as he was able to hide behind the right to remain silent," Mr. Dosanjh added.
After filing the lawsuit, Mr. Malik issued a news release in which he quoted from a court ruling that acquitted him of charges of murder related to the Air India attack.
"After I was acquitted, some members of the press and public continued to believe I was guilty," Mr. Malik stated.
"Mr. Justice Josephson found ' ... there is simply no evidence tending to point to the role that Mr. Malik may have played in the conspiracy to place bombs on Air India plane.'
"I have tried not to respond every time someone said I was guilty. However, I cannot allow my name to continue to be harmed," Mr. Malik said.
Mr. Malik also stated that he hired Mr. Dosanjh in the 1980s as the lawyer for the Satnam Education Society of B.C. which operates the Khalsa School.
Mr. Malik said he was one of the founding members of the society. Mr. Dosanjh in 1986 was the lawyer that incorporated the society. Mr. Dosanjh did not charge legal fees for work he performed for Khalsa School, Mr. Malik said.
"In the recent election, Ujjal Dosanjh accused Khalsa School of endorsing one candidate. As the Society's former lawyer, Ujjal knows that Khalsa School's mission is education, and not politics," Mr. Malik said.
Mr. Malik added that he did not support Mr. Dosanjh in the recent federal election. "He has made inflammatory statements about myself, my family, my community and Khalsa School, Mr. Malik said.
Mr. Dosanjh, who has been a Liberal MP representing Vancouver South since 2004, was defeated on Monday by Conservative Wei Young. During the campaign, Mr. Dosanjh filed a complaint with Elections Canada after Mr. Malik endorsed Ms. Young at the Khalsa School, which receives some public funding and cannot be involved in politics.
Mr. Malik was acquitted in 2005 of murder charges related to the Air India disaster. He has also filed a defamation lawsuit against CBC reporter Terry Milewski.