Facing criticism for issuing multi-entry visas to suspected terrorists Tahawwur Rana and his wife, the Indian Consulate in Chicago said today that the visas were given after “due scrutiny of the available documents.”
Arrested by the FBI in connection with a terror plot against India, Rana, a Pakistani-Canadian, along with his wife Samraz Rana Akhthar had been issued multiple entry visas by the Indian Consulate in Chicago in October 2008.
External Affairs Minister S M Krishna said the issue of grant of visas was being looked into while the Indian Consulate in Chicago said the “visas were issued with due scrutiny of the available documents and following guidelines.”
“The Consulate General of India, Chicago issued visas to Rana and his spouse as per the established procedure for issuance of visas to persons of Pakistani origin. As per the procedure, no prior clearance from the Ministry of Home Affairs was required in such cases,” Consul Vishvas Sapkal at the Indian Consulate at Chicago said in an e-mail response.
Both the visas were issued “under the discretion of the Consul General” with the Home Ministry maintaining that it was in violation of rules under which its clearance is required for any person born in Pakistan. Rana was born in Chichawatni while his wife was born in Bahawalpur. Both the places are in Pakistan’s Punjab province.