Ashok Atri, Consul-General in the Indian Consulate in Chicago, which is embroiled in a controversy over the visa issued to LeT operative Tahawwur Hussain Rana, has met External Affairs Minister S.M. Krishna and explained that no rules were violated as he submitted proper papers.
Mr. Atri, who also met National Security Adviser M.K. Narayanan and Foreign Secretary Nirupama Rao, said there was no wrongdoing on part of the Consulate as Rana, a Canadian national of Pakistani origin, appeared a bona fide normal traveller to India for business.
Rana was arrested along with the Pakistani origin U.S. national, David C. Headley, by the Federal Bureau of Investigation for planning major terror attacks in India. Rana visited India several times, suspected to be part of the conspiracy, on the visa issued by the Chicago consulate.
The Consul-General told Mr. Krishna and others that no exception had been made to give Rana a visa and that his office routinely put the “discretionary” stamp on it.
The 1975 batch IFS officer said that as per an August 2005 Home Ministry circular, the Chicago consulate was not required to send the visa applications of Pakistan-origin people to New Delhi and could process these in Chicago itself, sources told PTI. Except in the case of 43 countries, which did not include the U.S. and Canada, there was no need for prior approval of the Ministry for issuing visas to citizens of Pakistani origin, the Consul-General told the Minister and the officials, showing them relevant documents.
The same circular was repeated in May 2007, the sources said.
Mr. Atri clarified that Rana submitted proper documents in proof of his 6018 North Campbell Avenue, Chicago, residence which included the original notice of property tax issued by the Treasury Department. on Dewan Avenue in Chicago.