Rana faces charges for his role in the Mumbai attacks in 2008 and is a known associate of Pakistani-American terrorist David Coleman Headley, one of the main conspirators of the 26/11 attacks. He is currently lodged in a Los Angeles jail after being detained in 2020

Washington: In a major development, a US attorney told a federal court that Pakistani-origin Canadian businessman Tahawwur Rana, who is accused in the 26/11 terror attacks in Mumbai in 2008, is extraditable to India under the plain provisions of the US-India extradition treaty. This came almost a year after a US court had ordered a stay on Rana's extradition.

Rana faces charges for his role in the Mumbai attacks and is known to be associated with Pakistani-American terrorist David Coleman Headley, one of the main conspirators of the 26/11 Mumbai attacks. In response to an extradition request from India in 2020, Rana was detained in the US for his involvement in the attacks, in which 10 Pakistani terrorists besieged Mumbai for more than 60 hours, killing more than 160 people, including six Americans.

Assistant US Attorney, Criminal Appeals Chief Bram Alden was making a closing argument before the US Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, where Rana has appealed against the order by a US District Court in California that denied the writ of habeas corpus. “Rana is extraditable to India under the plain provisions of the treaty, and India has established probable cause to prosecute him for his role in terrorist attacks that resulted in 166 deaths and 239 injuries,” Alden said.

Terrorist Tahawwur Rana's Extradition Process

A US court in May had approved the extradition of Rana to India where he is wanted for his alleged role in the deadly 2008 attacks. In response, the Canadian businessman filed a writ of habeas corpus challenging the court order. Rana's attorney reasoned that his extradition would be in violation of the US-India extradition treaty.

However, Alden says the terror accused is actually extraditable under the treaty. In his deposition before the court on June 5, Alden, who left the position last week, said both India and the United States have agreed on the meaning of the treaty provision, the non-bis provision in Article 6-1.

“Both parties have now stated what they intended, that that provision be interpreted based on the elements of the offence and not based on the conduct underlying those crimes. That is consistent with long-standing Supreme Court double jeopardy precedent,” he argued, adding that Rana has never even attempted to argue that he cannot show that the elements India seeks to prosecute him for were the same as those he was prosecuted for in Chicago.

According to reports, Rana was convicted in Chicago in 2011 of providing material support to the Pakistan-based terror group Lashkar-e-Taiba, which carried out the Mumbai terror attack and for supporting a never-carried-out plot to attack a Danish newspaper that printed cartoons of the Prophet Muhammed in 2005.

'India's 9/11'

Alden further said Rana was aware of what was going to happen in India between 2006 and 2008 and there was overwhelming evidence to support probable cause. "He met with (David) Headley multiple times. There is documentary evidence that supports Hadley's testimony, including the fake visa applications that were provided so that Hadley could operate a fraudulent business in India in order to conduct surveillance, in order to carry out those terrorist attacks," he added.

The US attorney further said Rana was informed about the events leading up to the attack by one of the co-conspirators and his praise for the gruesome attack, which he described as India's '9/11'. Representing Rana, attorney John D Cline said there's no competent evidence supporting probable cause, and that the treaty does not permit the extradition of a man acquitted by an American jury for prosecution in a foreign country.

"It was primarily at the Taj Mahal Hotel, but the terrorists attacked a number of bars, restaurants, and the Chabad House. There were other targets in India that they were attacking in Mumbai. And it was their 9/11. It was a devastating attack over the course of multiple days that resulted in 166 deaths, including six Americans. That is why India wants to prosecute this case and, under the extradition treaty, has every right to do so," he further argued.

(With Inputs From Agencies)