SOURCE: THE HINDU
India has made a fresh request to the U.S. for the extradition of David Coleman Headley and Tahawwur Rana, wanted for their roles in the 26/11 Mumbai attacks.
Andrew McCabe, Deputy Director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), visited India earlier this month and met senior officials of the National Investigation Agency (NIA). The NIA, which is probing the conspiracy behind the 2008 attacks, raised with Mr. McCabe the pending requests for extradition of Headley and Rana. The NIA told him that its multiple requests for the custody of Rana went unanswered.
Revising its demand, the NIA told Mr. McCabe that though Rana was convicted by a U.S. court of the charge of providing material support to the Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT), which was behind the attacks, he had not been tried for offences, registered in India, of forgery and criminal breach of trust.
Not tried in India
“Since Rana has already been convicted by a U.S court, he cannot be tried for the same crime twice. We told the FBI official that we also have a case of forgery and criminal breach of trust registered against him, and he has not been tried for these crimes,” said a senior official of the Union Home Ministry.
Mr. McCabe assured the NIA that its request would be looked into.
Headley has been sentenced to 35 years in prison by a U.S court, and the ‘double jeopardy’ clause is one of the biggest impediments for the NIA to get him extradited.
NIA officials said they were hopeful of securing his custody because the U.S investigation mostly centred on the death of six American nationals in the attacks and a large number of Indians were also killed.
Rana, a school friend of Headley, is serving a 14-year term in the U.S. for providing material support to the LeT, but has not entered a plea bargain as Headley did. Rana was arrested in 2009. Though a U.S. District Court sentenced him in 2013, his jail term would include the period he had already served in prison.
Rana, a Chicago businessman, helped Headley open an immigration firm in Mumbai with forged documents. It acted as a cover for him to do reconnaissance of targets that were attacked on November 26, 2008. Rana, a school friend of Headley from Pakistan, was convicted in 2013 and sentenced to 14 years in prison for providing material support to Pakistan based LeT, the terrorist group behind the 2008 Mumbai attacks.
According to the FBI, after the 26/11 attacks, Headley visited India again in March 2009 for reconnaissance of the NDC in Delhi and Chabad Houses.