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Australia seeks bank details of Haneef

Australia seeks details of bank transactions and telephone calls of the Indian doctor charged with providing "reckless" support to terrorists.
IANS | By HT Correspondent, New Delhi
UPDATED ON JUL 19, 2007 11:35 PM IST

As India intensified diplomatic pressure over fair treatment of Mohammed Haneef, a suspect in the foiled UK bombings, Australia on Thursday sought details of bank transactions and telephone calls of the Indian doctor charged with providing "reckless" support to terrorists.

The Australian Attorney General has sought details of the accounts of Haneef in the Bangalore-based branches of UTI Bank and State Bank of India to verify whether Haneef was receiving funds from some overseas organisations with terrorist links.

The Australian authorities have sent a request seeking information about Haneef's bank transactions and family background in a Letter Rogatory which was received through the external affairs ministry and passed on to the CBI, well-placed sources said.

A questionnaire has also been sent for Haneef's wife Firdous and his brother Shoaib seeking more information about his schooling, college, family structure and other personal details of his family life.

The Australian authorities also want to know the reason for Haneef taking a one-way air ticket to India.

The Australian authorities are conducting a thorough scrutiny of Haneef's background to ascertain whether he was in any way involved with the failed bombings in London and Glasgow.

Haneef's visa was cancelled early this week soon after a Brisbane court gave bail to the Indian doctor saying he had no direct link to terrorists.

Earlier, India and Australia agreed to conclude a mutual legal assistance treaty even as External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee conveyed New Delhi's concerns over "fair treatment" of Haneef to his Australian counterpart Alexander Downer.

Downer rang up Mukherjee and discussed developments relating to continuing detention of Haneef.

"Mukherjee conveyed to Downer the concern of the Indian government and people that Dr Mohammed Haneef be treated fairly and justly under Australian law," external affairs ministry spokesperson Navtej Sarna said.

The two ministers agreed that both countries should conclude a Mutual Legal Assistance Treaty, he added.

Australian High Commissioner John McCarthy said in TV interviews in New Delhi that there was "not a hint of racism" in the way Haneef was being dealt with in connection with failed UK bombings.

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