A key witness at the Air-India trail went to the police with information about suspect Ripudaman Singh Malik after a mysterious Sikh suspected of being a Canadian Security Intelligence Service mole urged him to speak with the RCMP, B.C. Supreme Court was told yesterday.

"I did not go to them out of anger," the witness, who cannot under court order be identified, said during his second day of testimony.

"It was my conscience that pushed me to do this," he said in Punjabi. A translator repeated his comments in English.

"And Mr. Surjan Singh Gill said that I must tell these things," he said.

His testimony touched on one of the big unanswered questions surrounding the Air-India disaster: Was Mr. Gill a suspect in the conspiracy to blow up Air-India aircraft, or an agent working with CSIS and the RCMP?

Mr. Gill, a prominent Sikh in the Vancouver region for almost 30 years, moved to England shortly before Mr. Malik and another British Columbia man, Ajaib Singh Bagri, were arrested in October of 2000.

During interrogation of suspects, RCMP officers identified Mr. Gill as a spy for CSIS and a member of the inner circle in the Air-India conspiracy, according to court documents released this summer in response to media applications.

Mr. Gill had explosives and airline tickets with him shortly before two bombs were allegedly checked onto flights at the Vancouver airport, an RCMP officer said. Mr. Gill formally resigned his membership in the group a few days before the disaster.

The RCMP said the CSIS mole may have been told to back away from the group a few days before the explosions in 1985 to ensure that CSIS would not be implicated in the deaths.

Mr. Gill was never charged. His whereabouts have been unknown since the documents surfaced that indicated he may have been a CSIS mole.

CSIS has not confirmed RCMP comments about having a mole among the suspects. Occasionally, Mounties make statements during interrogations as a ruse to draw out more information.

At the trial yesterday, the witness was asked no questions about Mr. Gill after he mentioned his name.

Rather, Mr. Smart questioned the witness extensively about his business dealings with Mr. Malik, raising questions about the witness's credibility.

The witness had previously told the court that three months before the Air-India disaster in 1985, Mr. Malik tried unsuccessfully to have him take a suspicious suitcase on a flight to India.

Mr. Malik assured him that he would be considered a martyr if he did not return, the witness testified.

In response to Mr. Smart's questioning, the witness acknowledged that, before approaching police in April of 1997, he had several difficult business dealings with Mr. Malik.

Mr. Malik and Mr. Bagri are charged with murder in the deaths of 329 people killed in the Air-India explosion and the deaths of two baggage handlers killed in a bomb explosion 54 minutes earlier at Japan's Narita airport.

The trial continues.

[Gangsters Out]