CANBERRA, India – Australian police continue to suspect that an Indian doctor was part of the failed British bombing conspiracy last month, even though a terror charge against him was dropped for lack of evidence, a minister said Tuesday.
Immigration Minister Kevin Andrews released some of the police evidence against Mohamed Haneef that persuaded him to revoke the 27-year-old doctor's work visa.
Andrews said he would not release all the evidence upon which he had based his decision because that could jeopardize investigations both in Australia and overseas.
Haneef, who had worked as a doctor in an Australian public hospital for almost a year, was arrested July 2 at Brisbane airport as he was to fly to India.
Sabeel's brother Kafeel Ahmed is believed to have set himself ablaze after crashing an explosives-laden Jeep into Glasgow Airport in Scotland last month, and remains in a hospital with critical burns. British police have charged Sabeel with withholding information that could have prevented an act of terrorism.
Citing police evidence, Andrews said on the day Haneef attempted to leave Australia, he was told by one of his brothers in India in an Internet chat room: "Nothing has been found out about you."
The brother, Shoaib Haneef, told his sibling to leave Australia that day, Andrews said. The brother also told Haneef to tell his hospital boss that he was leaving because his wife had given birth and "do not tell them anything else," Andrews said.
"Investigators consider Haneef's attempted urgent departure from Australia on a one-way ticket for a purpose that appears to be a false pretext to be highly suspicious and may reflect Haneef's awareness of the conspiracy to plan and prepare the acts of terrorism in London and Glasgow," Andrews said.
Haneef's lawyer Peter Russo called on the government to "stop their campaign of innuendo and slander" against his client and to reveal any proof it had.
Haneef's cousin Imran Siddiqui accused Andrews of misleading the public.
"He knows that they have nothing against Haneef and this seems just another effort by Andrews to justify his actions," Siddiqui said.
Andrews did not say how the information was obtained, but police have said they seized Haneef's computer after his arrest and were sifting through tens of thousands of documents.
Haneef was reunited with his wife and newborn daughter in his hometown of Bangalore, India, on Sunday after spending 25 days in Australian jail.
The doctor has called for Australia to apologize for his treatment and plans to appeal the minister's decision to revoke his visa in an Australian federal court on Aug. 8.
Many in India believe that Haneef's arrest was racially motivated.