A US court has cleared the extradition of Pakistani-Canadian businessman Tahawwur Rana to India where he is sought for his involvement in the 2008 Mumbai terror attacks.
Said to be linked with Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI), Rana, 62, was arrested in the US for his role in attacks that saw 10 Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) terrorists storm buildings in Mumbai, killing 164 people, including six Americans, in a 60-hour siege.
“The court has reviewed and considered all of the documents submitted in support of and in opposition to the Request and has considered the arguments presented at the hearing,” Magistrate Judge of the US District Court of California, Judge Jacqueline Chooljian, said in a 48-page court order on Tuesday, which was released on Wednesday.
“Based on such review and consideration and for the reasons discussed herein, the court makes the findings set forth below and certifies to the Secretary of State of the US the extraditability of Rana on the charged offenses that are the subject of the Request,” the judge said in the order.
Rana’s arrest in the US was made at India’s request as per the 1997 Extradition Treaty between the two countries.
He was convicted in Chicago in 2011 of providing material support to the LeT, which planned the Mumbai terror attacks.
The development comes after a US court last month dismissed a status conference motion moved by Rana, stating that it anticipates a ruling on his extradition to India within 30 days.
Prosecutors in the court argued that Rana knew that his childhood friend Pakistani-American David Coleman Headley was involved with the LeT, and helped him in scouting locations and landing zones in Mumbai for carrying out the attack.
Rana was also aware of what was discussed in Headley’s meetings, including planning of the attacks as well as the targets.
While the extradition was contested by his lawyer, the judge ruled that there is sufficient competent evidence to extradite him.
The extradition had been requested for conspiracy to wage war, to commit murder, to commit forgery for the purpose of cheating, to use as genuine a forged document or electronic record, and to commit a terrorist act; waging war; murder; committing a terrorist act; and conspiracy to commit a terrorist act.
“It is therefore ordered that Tahawwur Hussain Rana be and remain committed to the custody of the US Marshal pending a final decision on extradition and surrender by the Secretary of State to India for trial of the offences as to which extradition has been granted pursuant to Title 18, US Code, section 3186 and the Treaty,” the Judge ruled.
Rana was born in Chichawatni in Pakistan’s Punjab province, and attained his medical degree from the Cadet College Hasan Abdal, a military residential college in Hasan Abdal, Attock district.
In this college, he met Headley, who became a major ISI operative. A physician by profession, Rana served as a captain general duty practitioner in the Pakistan Army Medical Corps.
Rana and his wife, who is also a physician, immigrated to Canada in 1997, and obtained Canadian citizenship in June 2001.
The couple lived primarily in Chicago and owns several businesses, including an immigration service agency. (IANS)