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Dr Sabeel returns home to a quiet welcome

May 08, 2008

The endless wait for Dr Zakia Ahmed was finally over when her son, Dr Sabeel Ahmed (28) arrived in Bangalore in the wee hours of Thursday.

Coverage: Glasgow Terror Plot

The arrival of Sabeel, who was convicted on charges of concealing information regarding the plot to bomb the Glasgow airport in UK, was a low key affair. Unlike the Dr Mohammed Haneef [Images] episode there was no public show of affection by family members.

He was whisked away by IB sleuths into a grey Hyundai Santro in which his mother and a relative were waiting.

The first thing he told me was Assalamualaikum, Dr Zakia told

Sabeel managed to give a majority of the media the slip when he came out of the VIP departure area at the Bangalore Airport at 0400 hours. The IB sleuths, who whisked him away, said they did not want the issue to be over-hyped. They feel political parties may take advantage of the issue and use it as a tool in their campaign.

Sabeel reached home at 0430 hours, offered prayers and then spent time with his family members. When Dr Haneef had returned home, the entire street leading up to his house had been decorated. However, for Sabeel it was a quiet affair. When he reached even the lights outside his house were not on and there was nobody to receive him.

The media tried in vain to get Sabeel to come out of his house and speak to them. He had refused to talk to the media even when a handful of journalists had caught up with him at the airport. "I do not wish to talk to anyone at this moment�" was all that he said.

After a relentless wait outside his residence for almost two hours, Dr Zakia came out and took questions from the media. She requested with folded hands not to trouble her son.

"He is tired, let him sleep. Let us spend some time with him."

On being asked about how she expressed her affection when she first met Sabeel at the airport, Dr Zakia said: "I am his mother. I don't need to do hug or kiss him to show my love and affection. He knows what I feel for him."

She clarified that they had not yet planned anything about his future.

"He has just arrived, please leave him alone. He does not wish to say anything. I will let you know when he is ready to talk to you," she said.

Sabeel may be a free man today, but both Central and state Intelligence Bureaus will keep a watch on him. An IB official told that like Dr Haneef, Sabeel too will be treated as a sleeper. This means that a constant watch would be kept on him.

For now, Karnataka police is not planning to pick up Sabeel for questioning. When the Bangalore connection to the UK terror plot had come to the light, local cops had conducted a parallel investigation on the antecedents of both Sabeel and his brother Kafeel, who allegedly drove the burning SUV into the Glasgow airport.

Kafeel died at a hospital three months later of burn injuries.

The dossier prepared by the Bangalore police gave Sabeel a clean chit and stated that he was not involved in any illegal activities in Karnataka. A senior police officer said he is not wanted in any case in Bangalore. So it makes no sense to question him. However, his movements will be monitored closely, the officer added.

Image: Dr Sabeel Ahmed being whisked away . Below: Sabeel Ahmed's mother talking to the media.
Reportage & Photograph: Vicky Nanjappa 

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