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Is there proof to nail suspects?

world Updated: Jul 11, 2007 04:06 IST
Vijay Dutt
Vijay Dutt
Hindustan Times
uk terror plot

With the five held at the Paddington Green police station for suspected involvement in the three failed terror attacks in Glasgow and London not yet charged, the police can hold them for just four more days. The Iraqi, Dr Bilal Abdulla, is the only one to be charged so far. It is, however, possible that security agencies may ask for more time, with the maximum being 28 days.

The delay in framing charges is raising doubts over whether there is enough evidence against them that can stand in a trial. Two senior officials mentioned Dr Sabeel Ahmed in particular and told HT that with his brother Kafeel Ahmed critically ill, it is doubtful if any evidence of his involvement can be gathered. Even if some information of his being a radical is dug out in Bangalore, “his link with the plots here has to be conclusively proved”. The officials, who did not want to be identified, added: “The more time passes, it can be presumed the police are finding it more difficult to collect evidence.”

<b1>The major problem is Kafeel, who suffered 90 per cent burns during the airport attack and is “hovering between life and death’. He may never be interrogated. And since his mobile got burnt, there is no way to know if he was in touch with Sabeel while planning the attacks, unless Bilal says something. According to unconfirmed reports, the jeep driven by Kafeel was once seen parked near Sabeel’s Liverpool house. But no official sources have commented on this.

Capabilities questioned

The other question that has been raised is whether the Yard or MI5 are capable of pre-empting more strikes and destroying the 200-odd terror networks here, former MI5 chief Dame Eliza Manningham-Buller said. It has emerged that the four potential suicide bombers who set out on July 21, 2005 — a fortnight after the July 7 attacks — to “do better and more massive carnage” were under the MI5 scanner. Yet, they attempted a second carnage.

It also emerged that the terrorist cell, of which the four were members, had been secretly photographed by MI5 at a training camp in Lake District with other suspected extremists. Shadow Home Secretary David Davies said: “The trial has revealed the ringleader was allowed to go to Pakistan for training and return. This despite the fact that he was facing criminal charges for extremism.”