26/11 AC­CUSED A STEP CLOSER TO EX­TRA­DI­TION

26/11 CASE Pak-ori­gin Cana­dian wanted for his role in Mum­bai at­tacks

Hindustan Times (Jalandhar) - - FRONT PAGE - HT Cor­re­spon­dents letters@hin­dus­tan­times.com

NEW DELHI: Ta­hawwur Rana, a Pak­istani-ori­gin Cana­dian sent to a US jail for his role in plan­ning the 2008 Mum­bai at­tacks, has been ar­rested af­ter be­ing freed from prison in or­der to face ex­tra­di­tion to In­dia.

Rana, 59, a close as­so­ciate of David Cole­man Headley, one of the main con­spir­a­tors be­hind the at­tacks on In­dia’s fi­nan­cial hub that killed 166 peo­ple, was serv­ing a 14-year sen­tence in a Los An­ge­les fed­eral prison when he was granted early re­lease last week be­cause of poor health and be­ing in­fected by the coro­n­avirus.

How­ever, he never left the prison as he was ar­rested to face ex­tra­di­tion to In­dia, US pros­e­cu­tors told The As­so­ci­ated Press. In­dian of­fi­cials said they learnt Rana was re­ar­rested on June 10.

Of­fi­cials fa­mil­iar with de­vel­op­ments said a US at­tor­ney in­formed the dis­trict judge in Los An­ge­les about In­dia’s stand­ing re­quest for the ex­tra­di­tion of Rana, wanted in In­dia for ter­ror charges.

A se­nior NIA of­fi­cer, who didn’t want to be named, said: “It’s a positive de­vel­op­ment af­ter over 11 years. This means his ex­tra­di­tion hear­ings will now take place.”

NEWDELHI:Ta­hawwur Rana, a Pak­istani-ori­gin Cana­dian sent to a US jail for his role in plan­ning the 2008 Mum­bai at­tacks, has been ar­rested af­ter be­ing freed from prison in or­der to face ex­tra­di­tion to In­dia.

Rana, 59, a close as­so­ciate of David Cole­man Headley, one of the main con­spir­a­tors be­hind the at­tacks on In­dia’s fi­nan­cial hub that killed 166 peo­ple, was serv­ing a 14-year sen­tence in a Los An­ge­les fed­eral prison when he was granted early re­lease last week be­cause of poor health and be­ing in­fected by the coro­n­avirus.

How­ever, he never left the prison as he was ar­rested to face ex­tra­di­tion to In­dia, US pros­e­cu­tors told The As­so­ci­ated Press. In­dian of­fi­cials said they learnt Rana was re­ar­rested on June 10.

Of­fi­cials fa­mil­iar with de­vel­op­ments said a US at­tor­ney in­formed the dis­trict judge in Los An­ge­les about In­dia’s stand­ing re­quest for the ex­tra­di­tion of Rana, wanted in In­dia for ter­ror charges. A se­nior Na­tional In­ves­ti­ga­tion Agency (NIA) of­fi­cer, who didn’t want to be named, said: “It’s a positive de­vel­op­ment af­ter over 11 years. This means his ex­tra­di­tion hear­ings will now take place.”

For­mer home sec­re­tary GK Pil­lai, who played a key role in the in­ves­ti­ga­tion of the Mum­bai at­tacks and co­or­di­nated with the US, said there was a pend­ing In­dian ex­tra­di­tion re­quest for Rana.

“There is a stand­ing In­dian ex­tra­di­tion re­quest for Rana and that will still be ap­pli­ca­ble,” he told HT. A per­son in the gov­ern­ment, who spoke on con­di­tion of anonymity, said the US author­i­ties acted as there was a re­quest for Rana’s pre­lim­i­nary ar­rest. The per­son noted that ar­rest sig­nalled the start of the ex­tra­di­tion process. An NIA team that vis­ited the US in late 2018 was in­formed by the de­part­ment of jus­tice it was con­vinced by In­dia’s charges against Rana. Ear­lier, the “dou­ble jeop­ardy” clause in US law, ac­cord­ing to which a per­son can’t be pun­ished twice for the same crime, was hin­der­ing ef­forts to ex­tra­dite Rana, but NIA made a fresh re­quest in 2016 .

In­dia lev­elled the charges of forgery and crim­i­nal breach of trust as Rana used his firm for mak­ing doc­u­ments for Headley dur­ing his sur­veil­lance mis­sions in Mum­bai. These charges were ac­cepted by US pros­e­cu­tors and the FBI, and they are in­clined to hon­our In­dia’s re­quest. FBI ar­rested Rana on Oc­to­ber 18, 2009 for pro­vid­ing ma­te­rial sup­port for the con­spir­acy to com­mit ter­ror­ist acts out­side the US.

AP FILE

A sol­dier takes cover as a gun bat­tle with ter­ror­ists rages at the Taj Ma­hal ho­tel, Mum­bai, on Novem­ber 29, 2008.

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