The United States administration has urged a court in Los Angeles to extradite Pakistani-origin Canadian businessman Tahawwur Rana to India, PTI reported on Tuesday. Rana is a key accused in the 2008 Mumbai terror attack and was declared a fugitive by India.
He was arrested in June 2020 in Los Angeles on an extradition request by India.
In a submission to a US District Court in Los Angeles last week, the Joe Biden administration argued that India’s extradition request had sufficient evidence of probable cause on each of the criminal charges against Rana.
Indian authorities have alleged that Rana conspired with his childhood friend David Coleman Headley to assist the terror group Lashkar-e-Taiba in the orchestration of the 2008 terror attacks in Mumbai that killed 166 people, and injured more than 200. The prosecutors have said Rana’s immigration law centre in Chicago, as well as a branch office in Mumbai, was allegedly used as a front for Lashkar-e-Taiba’s terrorism activities between 2006 and 2008.
Headley is currently serving a 35-year prison term in the US for his role in the attack.
The US administration’s attorney submitted that Rana allowed Headley to obtain the “business visa and the cover that he needed to conduct terrorism-related surveillance operations in India”, PTI reported.
He said that the businessman conspired with Headley to provide false information to the Indian government to obtain the business visa as an employee of Rana. He was also involved in submitting Headley’s visa applications to the Indian Consulate and falsely claimed to the Reserve Bank of India that he wanted to open a branch office in Mumbai with his friend serving as the “office head”, the attorney submitted.
The attorney added that Rana was aware of Headley’s links with the Lashkar-e-Taiba and that he was supporting terrorist organisations by assisting him.
The lawyer contended that Rana was guilty of the charges of criminal conspiracy (Section 120B of the Indian Penal Code), forgery (Section 468), fraudulent use of documents (Section 471) and sections of the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act, leveled by the Indian authorities.
Ten armed men who were trained by Lashkar-e-Taiba and officials in the Pakistan security establishment launched coordinated terror attacks at 12 locations in Mumbai on November 26, 2008. One of the terrorists, Ajmal Kasab, was caught and later hanged to death in 2012.