In touch with France over arrest of terror accused Indian: HM

New Delhi: India on Monday said it was in close touch with French authorities over the arrest of terror accused Mohammad Niaz Abdul Rashid, who hails from Tamil Nadu and allegedly associated with SIMI, but insisted that no Indian national had been hired by him.

Home Minister P Chidambaram ruled out any immediate move to seek consular access to Rashid, saying India was awaiting the result of the investigations underway by French authorities.

Rashid was arrested by French Police along with six other suspected Islamic militants on May 10 and French authorities suspect that he was recruiting volunteers there for joining a Pakistan-based terrorist outfit, Chidambaram told a press conference here.

"It is reported that Rashid admitted that he was part of a network which is recruiting people for jihad in the Pakistan-Afghanistan region," he said.

"Further investigation is underway and we are in close touch with French authorities," he said, adding France is sharing information with India.

Asked whether India would seek consular access to Rashid, Chidambaram said "it is too early for all that. Let us see what investigation in France reveals."

To a question, he said there is no report yet of Rashid having recruited anyone in India. "He seems to have recruited French nationals of different origins, mostly African origin."

Contending that Rashid has been under the radar of Indian intelligence agencies too, Chidambaram said the Mechanical Engineer had reportedly a "militant bent of mind" and had joined a SIMI-affiliated organisation at 21.