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Kerala police admits Rana had visited state

Last updated on: November 21, 2009 20:09 IST

Long after the central Intelligence agencies' disclosure, the Kerala police finally admitted that Lashkar terrorist Tahawwur Rana had indeed been in Kerala and had stayed at a hotel in the state.

Kerala police Deputy General of Police Jacob Punnose told media persons that Rana had indeed stayed in a private hotel in Kochi in November 2008 for two days.

The Kerala police has drawn flak for its failure in gathering intelligence in the state, even after Rana had placed advertisements for an international immigration agency in a leading English newspaper in the state.

However, Punnose maintained that there were no indications that US citizen David Headley had visited Kerala.

Intelligence agencies have earlier said that Headley too had been in Kerala, but had stayed at a private residence.

Punnose said the police had every reason to believe that the person who stayed in the hotel was Rana.

"His passport and other emigration records point to this direction."

He added that the purpose of Rana's visit was under investigation.

"Whatever information is being collected by the state police is being passed onto the National Investigation Agency," he said.

Headley, a 49-year-old Pakistan-born US citizen, was arrested in Chicago last month by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, which said he was plotting to carry out a LeT plan to conduct terror attacks in various places in India.

Rana, who came to Kochi with a woman on November 16 last year and left for Mumbai the next day posing as an emigration consultant, was arrested along with Headley.

The state police had conducted a massive search in hotels to find out if Headley had visited Kerala, when they stumbled upon records of "various Ranas" in hotels.
Arun Lakshman in Thiruvananthapuram