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Australian police say Indian lied about petrol attack


Sydney : Australian police allege a man of Indian descent who claimed he was doused in petrol and set alight last month was not the victim of a racist attack but injured himself while setting his car alight in a failed insurance scam, news reports said Wednesday.

Jaspreet Singh has been ordered to appear next month in a Melbourne court to answer charges of making a false report to police and criminal damage with a view to gaining financial advantage.

Singh, 29, alleged he was doused in petrol and set on fire by a group of men as he stood by his car Jan 8 in a Melbourne street.

The incident, which came a week after Nitin Garg, a 21-year-old accounting graduate, was stabbed to death while walking to his job at a Melbourne fast-food restaurant, inflamed tensions between Canberra and Delhi over the safety of Indians in Australia.

Police have downplayed racial motives in a series of attacks on Indians, saying street crime disproportionately affects the 90,000 Indian students studying in Australia.

Many of the students pay for their education by working part time in convenience stores, petrol stations and fast-food restaurants.

Indian External Affairs Minister S.M. Krishna has cautioned fellow Indians of the danger they face in Australia. He warned Canberra to expect a fall in the numbers coming for education.

“It certainly will have some bearing on the bilateral ties between our two countries,” Krishna said.