The United States administration has requested a federal court in Los Angeles to extradite Pakistani-origin Canadian terrorist Tahawwur Rana to India. Tahawwur Rana is wanted by the Indian authorities for his involvement in the 2008 Mumbai terror attacks.
According to the reports, the 59-year-old Tahawwur Rana, who has been declared a fugitive by India, is accused in multiple cases for his involvement in the 2008 Mumbai terror attack in which 166 people, including six Americans, were killed.
Rana, who has been in US jail for more than a decade for supporting terrorist groups and plotting Mumbai attacks, faces extradition to India on murder conspiracy charges. Rana was earlier convicted of his role in the Mumbai terror attacks, but US prosecutors had failed to prove a terrorism charge connecting him directly to the terror attacks.
However, Rana was granted early release from a Los Angeles federal prison because of poor health and amidst the coronavirus scare. The Pakistani-born terrorist was arrested again on June 10, 2020, in Los Angeles on an extradition request by India.
In a submission before the US District Court, Central District of California in Los Angeles, the Biden administration has argued that the extradition request filed by Indians have necessary evidence on each of the criminal charges for which India seeks Rana’s extradition.
“Having found that all of the requirements for certification of extradition have been satisfied, the Court certifies the extradition of Tahawwur Hussain Rana to the Secretary of State and commits him to custody pursuant,” according to a draft order proposed by the US attorney in his submission before the court last week.
Rana committed fraud against Indian govt by creating forged documents: US
The submissions to the court by the Biden administration said that based on the evidence submitted by India, Tahawwur Rana committed fraud against the Indian government through the creation and submission of forged documents. The purpose behind such fraud is irrelevant under the Indian criminal provisions, the document said.
“In any event, RANA knowingly allowed Headley to obtain the business visa and the cover that he needed to conduct terrorism-related surveillance operations in India, ultimately leading to the three-day terrorist attacks in Mumbai. Accordingly, the Court finds there is probable cause that RANA conspired to forge a document for the purpose of cheating and use a forged document as genuine, in violation of IPC 120B, 468, and 471,” the submission said.
The United States administration said that the evidence established that the Mumbai attacks were committed by Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT). The document said that the evidence establishes that Rana conspired with Headley to provide false information on multiple documents submitted to the Indian government.
The document said that Tahawwur Rana was aware that Headley was involved with LeT, and he supported the terrorist organisation and its associates by assisting Headley and affording him a cover for his activities. The Biden administration also submitted to the court that Rana knew about details of Headley’s meetings with LeT and the planning of the attacks, including some of the targets.
“Accordingly, this Court finds that there is probable cause that Rana committed the crimes of conspiracy with the object of committing a terrorist act, in violation of IPC 120B and UAPA 16, and conspiracy to commit a terrorist act, in violation of UAPA 18. The court further finds that under an agency theory or an abetting theory (as contemplated by UAPA 16), there is probable cause that Rana committed the substantive crime of commission of a terrorist act in violation of UAPA 16,” said the document submitted by the US attorney.
In August 2018, the Indian government had issued a warrant for his arrest for orchestrating the 26/11 Mumbai terror attacks. Rana is accused of conspiring with his childhood friend David Coleman Headley to assist the Pakistani terror group Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) in planning the 2008 terror attacks in Mumbai.
The Indian government has charged Rana under IPC Section 468 – forgery for purposes of cheating as an object of the alleged criminal conspiracy and IPC Section 471 – using as genuine a forged document or electronic record as an object of the alleged criminal conspiracy.
Rana helped David Headley to get visa through forged documents: Biden administration
Further, the document said, “In 2006 and 2007, Rana conspired with Headley to include false information on Indian government documents, so that Headley could obtain business visas (a one-year and five-year multiple entries) as an alleged employee of Rana’s business. Rana reviewed Headley’s applications on both occasions and failed to correct information Rana knew to be false”.
“Rana also had the Immigrant Law Center, through his unsuspecting business partner, submit the applications to the Indian Consulate. RANA also allowed his business to apply to the Reserve Bank of India while falsely claiming it wanted to open an office in Mumbai with Headley serving as the business’s ‘Office Head”, it said.
On the other hand, Rana’s attorney opposed the extradition, saying that the government has not satisfied Article 9(3)(c) of the Treaty, which states that an extradition request should be supported by such information that justifies the committal for trial of the person if the offence had been committed in the requested state.
On 26th November 2008, ten terrorists from Pakistan wreaked havoc in Mumbai. They held the country on ransom for almost three days as some of them holed up inside star hotels in Mumbai, holding hostages, many of them foreign nationals, as the ghastly scenes were telecast live in our living rooms. At least 174 people died, including 9 terrorists, and more than 300 were wounded in the Pakistan-sponsored terror attacks in India.