Tahawwur Rana, a terror convict of Pakistani descent, whose extradition to India has been green-signed, was “very relaxed” in the days following the 26/11 attacks and wanted Pakistan’s highest military honor to be awarded to the Lashkar e-Taiba (LeT) terrorists who perpetrated the Mumbai massacre.
In a major victory for India’s fight to bring to justice the perpetrators of the 26/11 Mumbai attacks, U.S. Magistrate Jacqueline Chooljian of the U.S. District Court of the Central District of California issued a 48-page warrant on Wednesday saying that Rana “should be extradited”. to India” under the extradition treaty between India and the US.
“The Court has reviewed and considered all documents submitted in support of and against the application and has considered the arguments advanced at the hearing. Based on this review and consideration and for the reasons discussed herein, the Court sets the findings below, and certifies to the United States Secretary of State the callability of Rana for the charged crimes which are the subject of the request,” the order read.
According to the details in the Certification of Extraditability and Order of Commitment regarding Rana’s involvement and association with a friend and LeT terrorist David Coleman Headley, a “co-conspirator who met Rana in Dubai emailed Headley on December 25, 2008 stating the question “How are you doing. . . [Rana’s] reaction to what is happening, is he terrified or relaxed? Headley replied the next day that Rana was “very relaxed” and tried to calm Headley down.
In a September 7, 2009 interview, Rana told Headley that the “nine Lashkar terrorists who had died in the Mumbai attacks” “should be awarded Nishan-e-Haider”, which is Pakistan’s highest military honour. Rana, now 62, also asked Headley to “tell one of the co-conspirators responsible for planning the Mumbai attacks that he would be awarded “a top class medal”. which Rana had made in which she equated the co-conspirator with a famous general.
Rana also occasionally communicated directly with some of Headley’s contacts in Pakistan, it said.
“Rana was also in direct contact with the… handlers for [Headley] and passed on information when necessary.” The order noted that the court cannot confirm Rana’s extradition unless there are probable grounds to believe that he has committed the offenses for which extradition is sought.
Citing his reasoning in detail, the order reads: “Accordingly, the court considers that there is probable cause to believe that Rana has committed the charged offenses for which extradition is sought and should be extradited to India on the grounds of the extradition treaty between the United States and India.” India filed a complaint on 10 June 2020 demanding Rana’s provisional detention for extradition purposes. The Biden administration had supported and approved Rana’s extradition to India.
The order also states that in India, Headley supervised Chabad houses in Delhi, Goa and Pushkar, as well as the National Defense College (NDC), which “provides courses for senior Indian Army officers, colonels and above”. He kept Rana informed about the surveillance activities.
In the September 7, 2009 conversation, Headley and Rana discussed the targeting of the NDC. previous wars between India and Pakistan.” Rana also set up an email account for Headley so that Headley could securely communicate with Rana, and Headley transferred a list of Chabad homes in India – including those he was supposed to oversee – for security reasons to the email account.