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US Government Approves Extradition of 26/11 Accused Tahawwur Rana to India

The move comes a month before Prime Minister Narendra Modi's first state visit to the US.

New Delhi: A US Court has granted the extradition of Pakistani-origin Canadian businessmen Tahawwur Rana to India for his involvement in the 2008 Mumbai terror attacks, the Deccan Herald reported

India had filed a complaint seeking Rana’s provisional arrest with a view towards extradition in June 2020, which received the Joe Biden administration’s support, according to an Indian Express report

“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,” Judge Jacqueline Chooljian, US Magistrate Judge of the District Court Central District of California, said in a 48-page court order dated May 16, the Indian Express reported. 

The order noted that the court cannot certify Rana’s extradition without probable cause to believe he committed the offences for which extradition is sought. Citing its reasoning in detail, the order states: “Accordingly, the court finds there is probable cause to believe Rana committed the charged offences as to which extradition has been sought and should be extradited to India under the extradition Treaty between the United States and India,” the Deccan Herald report said.

The judge said that India had issued an arrest warrant and charged Rana with 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, according to the Deccan Herald

“The foregoing charged offences constitute extraditable offences within the meaning and scope of the treaty and over which India has jurisdiction,” the judge ruled, the Deccan Herald reported.

During the hearing, US government attorneys argued that Rana was aware of his childhood friend David Coleman Headley’s involvement with the Lashkar-e-Tayyaba (LeT) and that he supported the terrorist organisation by providing cover for Headley’s activities, the Indian Express reported.

While Rana’s attorney opposed the extradition, the federal prosecutors said that because members of the conspiracy committed acts resulting in death with the intention of causing death, or at minimum committed those acts knowing its imminent dangers, there is sufficient evidence that the elements for murder would be satisfied, according to the Indian Express.

The Indian government responded to the US court order by saying that it was in touch with us authorities for Rana’s extradition.

“Insofar as the question of Tahawwur Rana is concerned, we are in very regular touch with the US authorities to ensure that there is speedy and early extradition of Tahawwur Rana. We have all seen the judgment which was given by the local US court there. That conversation of ours with the US side is continuing,” foreign secretary Vinay Kwatra told reporters on Thursday.