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February 3, 2000
AI bombing convict's wife pleads guilty
A P Kamath
Satnam Kaur, wife of Inderjit Singh Reyat who is in a Vancouver prison for his involvement in Air-India explosions 15 years ago, faces a prison sentence herself now.
She pleaded guilty on Monday of accepting, between 1991and 1998, nearly $ 110,000 which she was not qualified to receive. The money came from the Satnam Trust, which runs a Khalsa school. Canadian officials say the trust had no authority to divert its money.
Her husband was found guilty of building or helping others build a bomb that killed two handlers at Narita airport.
Last week, an official told the court that they believed that Satnam Kaur used part of the money -- at least half of it -- to pay for the legal expenses of her husband. Reyat had unsuccessfully appealed his conviction in 1993.
Revenue Canada, the national organization that investigates financial fraud, is investigating the trust.
Kaur's sentencing is set for March. Investigators believe the trust was helping her because the trust leaders sympathized with militant Sikhs seeking to establish Khalistan.
Reyat, who was sentenced to 10 years imprisonment, may be released around the time his wife begins her sentence. A parole hearing was set for him this week, but was postponed at his request. He reportedly thought he would not get a proper hearing at the parole board because of the case against his wife.
Earlier, supporters of Reyat and his wife had said pressure was being put on her so that her husband would reveal details about the Air-India bombing that killed 329 people in June 1985.
Last year he told reporters that the police had offered him "whatever he wants if he would help solve" the case. Reyat insists he was not involved in the bombing and that he only bought, for a man whose name he was not told, the stereo tuner that held the Narita bomb. He had no idea that there was a conspiracy to blow up the plane, he said.
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