The Biden administration has urged a federal court in Los Angeles to extradite Pakistani-origin Canadian businessman Tahawwur Rana to India where he is sought for his involvement and complicity in the 2008 Mumbai terror attack which killed 166 people including six Americans.
Rana, a childhood friend of US national David Coleman Headley, was re-arrested on 10 June last year in Los Angeles on an extradition request by India for his involvement in the gruesome Mumbai terror attack. The 59-year-old Rana has been declared a fugitive by India and he is facing multiple charges for his role in the 26/11 terror attack.
Headley had played a pivotal role in preparation of the attack as he had made seven trips to India since 2006. He had stayed at the Taj and Oberoi and had made extensive reconnaissance of all the other targets and vidographed them. The National Investigation Agency, after questioning him, found out that he was a key LeT operative.
In a submission before the US District Court, in Los Angeles, the US government argues that India’s extradition request contains substantial evidence of probable cause 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.
A document titled proposed findings and facts read that the evidence submitted by India showed that Rana allowed fraud against the Indian government by producing and submitting forged documents.
Indian authorities allege that Rana conspired with his childhood friend David Coleman Headley to assist the Pakistani terror group Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) in the orchestration of the 2008 terror attacks in Mumbai.
“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,” it said.
According to the court document, the evidence establishes that the Mumbai attacks were committed by LeT, a terrorist organisation targeting India. Thus, an attack on Indian soil, especially one that would result in mass casualties, injuries, and damage to property, would strike terror in the Indian people.
“Rana was aware that Headley was involved with LeT, and that by assisting Headley and affording him a cover for his activities, he was supporting the terrorist organisation and its associates. Rana knew of Headley’s meetings, what was discussed, and the planning of the attacks, including some of the targets. Further, it was foreseeable that these attacks would lead to death, injury, and destruction of property,” it said.
“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.
India has charged forgery for purposes of cheating, in violation of IPC 468, as an object of the alleged criminal conspiracy. India also charged the crime of using as genuine a forged document or electronic record, in violation of IPC 471, as an object of the alleged criminal conspiracy.
The document said that the evidence establishes that Rana conspired with Headley to provide false information on multiple documents submitted to the Indian government.
“In 2006 and 2007, on both occasions, Rana reviewed Headley’s applications and failed to correct information Rana knew to be false,” it said.
“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 in their proposed draft order is opposed to the extradition.
“The Court finds that the government has not satisfied the requirement of Article 9(3)(c) of the Treaty that a request for extradition be supported by such information as would justify the committal for trial of the person if the offense had been committed in the Requested State,” it said.