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Deadline to file indictment against Rana ends tomorrow

January 13, 2010 12:41 IST

Pakistan-born Canadian terror suspect Tahawwur Hussain Rana is expected to be indicted this week as federal prosecutors in Chicago face a 14 January deadline to file the indictment that may include additional charges resulting from the Mumbai terror attack.

Prosecutors allege that 49-year-old Rana, arrested by the Federal Bureau of Investigation in October 2009 on terror charges, "knew in advance" of the 26/11 Mumbai attacks and complimented terror group Lashkar-e-Tayiba for carrying out the terror strikes. The grand jury indictment is expected to include additional charges against Rana resulting from the much more serious Mumbai terror attack in 2008, a report by ABC News said quoting sources familiar with the investigations.

A Chicago court had in November last year given the FBI a 58-day extension to file indictment against Rana, whose wider involvement in an international terror scheme became apparent when co-defendant Pakistani-American David Coleman Headley began cooperating with the investigations. Headley has been charged with conspiring in the Mumbai attacks and the US government says "he is cooperating in the investigation". Law enforcement officials say there are major points of connection between Rana and Headley and the Mumbai attack. These points are that Headley and Rana surveyed all the four places that the terrorists targeted in Mumbai-the Taj and Trident hotels; the Chatrapati Shivaji Train Terminus and Nariman House.

While Headley stayed at Taj and Trident in 2007, Rana stayed at a guest house. Rana left Mumbai just five days before the LeT terrorists attacked Mumbai. Both were in Pakistan during the attacks and left the country just after the attacks concluded. US investigators are also examining pictures and video footage of the targets that were shown to Pakistani terrorists and were provided by Headley and Rana. Court documents introduced in Rana's case allege that he was in Mumbai and travelled to Dubai five days before the attack. Rana has made several appearances in court here seeking to be released on bond. However, he was considered a flight risk and denied bail. He has already been charged by federal prosecutors of plotting with Headley to attack the offices of a Danish newspaper.

A Chicago resident, Rana runs an immigration business, a grocery store and a butcher house in the city. According to Cook County land records, Rana bought a red-brick bungalow in Chicago's far north side in 1995. His family includes his wife Samraz Akhtar and three teen-age children. His brother, a journalist with Hill Times and father live in Canada. Rana regularly prayed at the Jame Mosque in the West Rogers Park neighbourhood of Chicago, which is home to many Pakistanis. He is also a member of the Iqbal Society, a social group that discusses the philosophy of the intellectual-poet Muhammad Iqbal, who espoused peaceful political action. Rana's membership to this club was cited by his lawyer in seeking bail.

Yoshita Singh in Chicago
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