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Friday, 14 December, 2001, 18:28 GMT
Foreign detectives to quiz al-Qaeda suspect
Plane flying into the Twin Towers
Al-Qaeda was apparently planning more attacks
By the BBC's Sanjeev Srivastava in Bombay

Detectives from Scotland Yard in London and the Australian police are currently in Bombay to discuss the case of an alleged member of Osama Bin Laden's al-Qaeda organisation, Mohammad Afroz.

Mr Afroz offered to make a confession in a city court here on Friday that he was part of a conspiracy to blow up the House of Commons in London, the Indian parliament and the Rialto Tower in Australia.

The home minister of the western Indian state of Maharashtra, Chagan Bhujbal, confirmed on Friday that British and Australian detectives were in Bombay and holding discussions with city police officials investigating the Mohammad Afroz case.

He said Indian authorities had no problems with Mr Afroz being questioned by the visiting detectives. But he said it might not be practical to do that immediately as Mr Afroz was now in judicial custody.

Flying lessons

Mr Bhujbal also said that a team of Bombay police detectives will be sent to Australia, the UK and the US to try and ascertain more facts about the Afroz case.

Twenty-five-year-old Mohammad Afroz was arrested by the Bombay police in October.

Big Ben
Indian police say Big Ben was a target

According to the police, he had taken flying lessons in Australia, US and the UK between 1997 and August 2001.

They say he was a member of suicide squads formed by the al-Qaeda network to carry out attacks on the World Trade Center in New York, the British House of Commons, Parliament House in Delhi and Melbourne's Rialto Tower.

Mr Afroz confessed before a Bombay magistrate on Friday to being part of the al-Qaeda conspiracy.

Speaking in fluent English, he told the court he had decided to confess on his own.

He also said that he was not mentally ill and did not need to undergo any psychiatric treatment.

Earlier his father, Abdul Razak, told the court his son was being pressurised by the police.

Mr. Razak also asked the court to send his son for treatment as was mentally ill.

However, Mr Afroz replied in the negative when asked by the court whether he was being tortured by the police or if he needed to see a doctor.

In the end, Mr Afroz's statement was not recorded as a confession.

The magistrate, citing his father's petition, gave Mr Afroz four more days to consider if he wished to make a confession, and ordered that he return to court on Tuesday.

See also:

06 Dec 01 | South Asia
Al-Qaeda 'planned more attacks'
05 Oct 01 | Americas
The investigation and the evidence
28 Sep 01 | England
Terror suspect 'taught hijackers'
14 Sep 01 | Americas
Q&A: Learning to fly a plane
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