NATIONAL

Briton wanted by India arrives in U.K.

Charity worker accused of sexually abusing homeless children in Mumbai

Hasan Suroor

LONDON: A British charity worker, wanted by Indian police for allegedly sexually abusing homeless children in Mumbai, is reported to have ``quietly'' arrived in Britain after he was deported from Tanzania while authorities in India were looking for him.

Duncan Grant was reportedly waved through passport controls at Heathrow Airport on June 1 despite an international arrest warrant against him carrying an Interpol ``red notice.''

Police in India have been pursuing him since November 2001 following allegations by five street children in Mumbai that they were sexually abused while staying in Anchorage Shelters run by Mr. Grant.

Another co-accused in the case, Allan Waters — also a Briton — was detained at an American airport three years ago and deported to India, but Mr. Grant has managed to elude Indian authorities.

British police sources were reported to be surprised at the ease with which he was apparently able to walk through the Heathrow airport ``unimpeded'' even though the National Criminal Intelligence Service knew that Mr. Grant was on his way to Britain. The British wing of Interpol is a part of the NCIS.

On Monday, the NCIS declined to comment on ``specific cases.'' The Indian High Commission in London said it had no independent information and got to know of Mr. Grant's reported arrival in Britain only through a report in The Daily Telegraph.

Asked if there was a move to take up the case with the British Government, sources said New Delhi was likely to press for Mr. Grant's extradition under the India-U.K. extradition arrangements.

A spokesperson for the Home Office said it did not comment on ``individual cases.'' About the Indian Government's request for extradition, she told The Hindu : ``It is a long-standing Home Office policy neither to confirm nor deny requests for extradition prior to arrests for extradition purposes. To do so would serve only to put the alleged fugitive on the alert, frustrate the administration of justice and compromise the U.K.'s ability to fulfil important obligations towards its many extradition and international partners.''

Both Mr. Grant and Mr. Waters deny the allegations, and claim that the complainants were instigated to act against them. It is reported that Mr. Grant was deported from Tanzania following allegations of sexual abuse in Anchorage Shelters in Dar es Salaam.

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