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Australian police set to question Haneef again

The Indian High Commission says it is in touch with Australian authorities over the case of the Indian doctor. The terror trail...
PTI | By Natasha Chaku, Melbourne
UPDATED ON JUL 09, 2007 11:43 AM IST

The Indian High Commission on Monday said it was in touch with Australian authorities over the case of the Indian doctor Mohammed Haneef, detained in connection with the botched UK car bombings, as counter terrorism officials prepared to again question him.

"We are corresponding with the Australian authorities about Haneef's case," Deputy High Commissioner Vinod Kumar told PTI.

He said the Commission was also in regular touch with Haneef's lawyer and his family. On reports that Haneef was being unfairly treated by police, Kumar said they were looking at overall issues of the case.

Australian police were, meanwhile, set to again question Haneef. A Brisbane magistrate has given the Australian Federal Police (AFP) investigators authorisation under the counter terrorism laws to hold Haneef until tonight.

The interviewing time does not include any breaks which could ensure that Haneef could be quizzed tomorrow also.

Haneef has been detained in a Brisbane watch-house since Monday last as authorities investigate whether he has any links to the failed car bombs in London and the attack on Glasgow airport, as well as to a national sleeper cell of foreign doctors established here to fund overseas terrorist activities.

Meanwhile, Attorney-General Philip Ruddock said that Haneef appeared in a hurry to leave the country. Haneef, a 27-year-old hospital registrar, had a one-way ticket to fly to India just days after the foiled terrorist attacks in London and Glasgow.

"The appearance as I am told was that he had left rather hurriedly," Ruddock said. "His wife says it's because she gave birth to a child two weeks ago," he said adding "that may be well the reason but certainly the appearance was that his intention (was) to leave with speed."

Ruddock suggested that Haneef had given other reasons for his behaviour. "The further explanations that have been offered may be reasonable but they may also be a cover for something else," he was quoted as saying by 'The Australian' today.

"The police wanted him to be available for questioning and the question mark in their mind was whether he would be available," Ruddock further said.

The attorney-general said other foreign doctors working in Australia, who had been questioned by police could be interviewed again.

"If there were evidence involving other parties I have absolutely no doubt questioning would occur and if the evidence was sufficient for charges they would be brought," he said.

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