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Mumbai police had warned UK about terror plot

Police had warned UK cops six years ago to 'track the Indian students' pursuing engineering in UK, reports Debasish Panigrahi.

india Updated: Jul 16, 2007 02:24 IST
Debasish Panigrahi

The failed terrorist attack at the Glasgow airport and a series of strikes in London could have been averted had the British police paid heed to the caution issued by the Mumbai police six years ago, former Mumbai police commissioner MN Singh said on Sunday.

Track the Indian students going to your country to study aeronautical engineering, civil aviation and information technology (IT) — skills sought after by today’s terror group headhunters — the Mumbai police had apparently told the British and Australian police and also the US’s Federal Bureau of Investigation.

Apparently the city police spotted a trend that would play out dangerously several years later.

“I had clearly told the then police commissioner of London to keep a strict watch on foreign students, especially Indians, pursuing courses in pilot training, aeronautical engineering and IT since they could become potential recruits for the Al-Qaeda,” Singh told HT. “But they never listened to us.”

This was confirmed by an officer who investigated the activities of Mohammed Afroze, a young pilot arrested in Navi Mumbai in October 2001 in a conspiracy to blow up the British parliament. Not wishing to be named, the officer pointed to certain stunning parallels between Kafeel and Afroze.

Kafeel enrolled himself for aeronautical engineering in an Edinburgh institute. Afroze had been in the UK for pilot training. The former faked his domicile certificate to enroll for the course, while Afroze had produced a forged Class XII certificate to learn to be a pilot.

There could be more similarities regarding funding of their courses and their mentors, which the police of three countries are trying to get to the bottom of.