With the trial against 26/11 accused Tahawwur Hussain Rana getting underway in a Chicago court on Monday,the US has officially approached India to obtain evidence from the investigations conducted here against Rana and David Coleman Headley.
Its learnt that the US government,acting on the request of the prosecution,sent in a request to the Home Ministry,asking for certain specific documentation that surfaced during Indian investigations. These include:
Copies of visas issued to David Coleman Headley and related documentation
Documentation relating to the business started by Rana
Visa application forms of Rana,wife Samraz Rana Akhtar and business associate Raymond Sanders
Details from an application filled on October 12,2006 by Sanders on Ranas behalf with the Reserve Bank of India
All statements recorded by Indian investigators during the course of the probe.
In making the request,the US has cited the legal assistance arrangement between both countries which was also the basis for FBI agents to come and testify in the Mumbai court during the trial of Mohammed Ajmal Amir Kasab. The US side has conveyed that this assistance would help bring Rana to justice.
A co-accused in the Mumbai attacks,Rana helped Headley in his preparations for setting up the Mumbai attack. He is the one who provided the cover for Headleys travels to India by first setting up travel and immigration services agency in Mumbai.
He was also instrumental with the help of Sanders to recommend the case for Headleys visa to the Indian consulate in Chicago.
Now now charged with three counts of giving material support to terrorists,Pak-origin Rana,who holds Canadian citizenship,has pleaded not guilty. In fact,in trying to evade trial,he has also confirmed that ISI was behind the 26/11 attacks.
Rana,who runs an immigration services business with offices in Chicago,New York and Toronto,opened a branch in India which allowed Headley to travel to Mumbai several times and scope the eventual targets. He would then travel to Pakistan and provide these details to his Pakistani handler. Further,Rana also relayed messages to Headley from a Major Iqbal,considered the ISI hand in the attack. The prosecution is gathering evidence to irrefutably prove his association with the Lashkar-e-Toiba,a designated a terror outfit in the US.
While India is expected to provide all the assistance,New Delhi,too,has been keen to get access to Rana an issue which is under discussion between both countries.
📣 The Indian Express is now on Telegram. Click here to join our channel (@indianexpress) and stay updated with the latest headlines