Pak-Origin Plotter Of 26/11 Attacks Arrested In US, Faces Extradition

Washington: Pakistani-origin Canadian businessman Tahawwur Rana has been arrested in Los Angeles on an extradition request by India for his involvement in the 2008 Mumbai terror attacks, in which 166 people were killed, according to the US prosecutors.
Tahawwur Rana, 59, was recently released from jail on compassionate ground after he told a US court that he has tested positive for the COVID-19. He was rearrested in Los Angeles on June 10 following an extradition request by India, where he is a declared fugitive, they said.

Assistant US Attorney John J Lulejian told the court that the Indian government, as per the bilateral Extradition Treaty signed in 1997, has requested the arrest and detention of Tahawwur Rana with a view towards his extradition.

Mr Lulejian said India has informed the US that Tahawwur Rana is being prosecuted for a number of offences, including the conspiracy to commit murder. He made an initial court appearance on June 11.

On Friday, US District Judge Jacqueline Chooljian in the US District Court, Central District of California, scheduled his bond hearing for June 30. His attorney has been asked to submit his plea by June 22 and the US government’s response is due by June 26.

Lulejian said that the offences for which Tahawwur Rana’s arrest warrant was issued are covered by the India-US Extradition Treaty.

An arrest warrant was issued against Tahawwur Rana in India by a special court of the National Investigation Agency in August 2018.

According to the prosecutors, between 2006 and November 2008, Tahawwur Rana conspired with his childhood friend David Coleman Headley and others in Pakistan to help Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) and Harakat ul-Jihad-e-Islami, both US-designated terrorist organisations, to plan and carry out the Mumbai attacks.

Tahawwur Rana was first arrested in Chicago in October 2009. Thereafter he went to trial in the US, where Headley testified for prosecution.

The jury convicted him of one count of conspiracy to provide material support to terrorism in Denmark, and one count of providing material support to LeT. The jury, however, acquitted Tahawwur Rana of one count of conspiracy to provide material support to terrorism in India.