'Loopholes in Md Haneef case'

Voices critical of AFP's case handling grow louder as one more is charged, reports David McMahon.
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Updated on Jul 21, 2007 03:42 AM IST
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Hindustan Times | By David McMahon, Melbourne/london

More doubts and questions about the investigation into Dr Mohammed Haneef's alleged terrorist links surfaced on Friday. Voices critical of the Australian Federal Police's (AFP’s) handling of the case grew louder, while in London, 16,000 km away, another person detained in connection with the failed terrorist attacks was charged.

Dr Mohammed Asha, a Jordanian, was charged with conspiracy to cause explosions and remanded to custody till July 27.

Only Kafeel Ahmed, who allegedly tried to drive a burning jeep into Glasgow airport and is presently fighting for his life in a Glasgow hospital, remains to be charged.

Confusion reigned over where exactly Haneef's SIM card — which he has admitted handing over to Dr Sabeel Ahmed, another of those charged, before leaving Britain for Australia — was found by the police. It was not clear whether it was recovered from the burning jeep, as earlier suggested, or from the Liverpool house where Sabeel was detained a good eight hours later.

Discrepancies were also pointed out between the AFP's depositions in court and the answers given by Haneef, as recorded in the transcript of his first interrogation, which was leaked to a leading Australian newspaper.

In an interview to the Australian Broadcasting Corporation, Queensland Premier Peter Beattie said he was embarrassed by the handling of the case. "I want to say to the Federal Government," he said, "for God's sake, you've got a series of contradictory things here..."

Greens Senator Kerry Nettle, a strident critic of the case, said: "Either it is a massive mistake on the part of the AFP and the Australian Government or it is them desperately looking to charge Haneef…"

(With inputs from Vijay Dutt)

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