One of the key accused in the 26/11 Mumbai attacks, Tahawwur Hussain Rana, is likely to soon face extradition proceedings in the US based on a request from India.
Released recently after testing positive for coronavirus, Rana has been re-arrested by US authorities based on a provisional request from the National Investigation Agency. This paves the way for extradition proceedings to begin against him in a US court, sources said. India’s request for his extradition has been pending for years.
A Pakistan-born Canadian citizen, Rana is serving a 14-year sentence in the US for his involvement in a terrorism plot against a Danish newspaper and for providing material support to the Lashkar-e-Taiba. The 59-year-old resident of Chicago was arrested in 2009 on charges of plotting the 26/11 terror attacks.
According to Indian agencies, he was a close friend of convicted 26/11 accused David Coleman Headley and had helped the latter set up an immigration business in Mumbai as a cover for his reconnaissance activities. Rana had also helped Headley get forged identity documents.
In 2013, Rana was sentenced to 14 years of imprisonment, followed by five years of supervised release.
“He was recently released after he reported that he had tested positive for Covid-19. Following this the US authorities on June 10 executed our request for his provisional arrest. This paves the way for his extradition proceedings to begin in a competent court in the US… We hope to get him to India after his sentence in the US is over,” an NIA officer said.
Since he cannot be tried for offences he has already been convicted for in the US, India is seeking extradition of Rana on the ground that he was actively involved in planning an attack on the New Delhi-based National Defence College and Chabad Houses in several cities. There is also a forgery case registered against him in India.
An NIA team had travelled to the US in 2018 to try speed up the process of extradition. An understanding had been then reached between the US and Indian authorities that the two countries would attempt to finish the required paperwork so that Rana could be extradited as soon as possible.
In case India and the US had failed to begin the extradition proceedings, Rana would have been deported to Canada.
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