Tahawwur Hussain Rana, who is set to be extradited to India after a U.S. district court order in this regard, is a former army doctor in Pakistan who is wanted by the National Investigation Agency (NIA) for his role in the November 26, 2008 terror attack in Mumbai that claimed 166 lives. On December 4, 2019, India had submitted a diplomatic note to the U.S. to extradite Rana and through a order dated May 16, a Los Angeles court allowed his extradition.
The 62-year-old studied in Pakistan but later went to Canada as a businessman and is currently incarcerated in Los Angeles. Rana is accused of working and providing the blueprint that helped Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) execute the Mumbai attacks. He is accused of criminal conspiracy, waging or attempting to wage war against the Government of India, murder, and forgery for the purpose of cheating, among other charges, of the Indian Penal Code.
He is a school friend of David Headley, a U.S. citizen partly of Pakistani descent, who is serving a 35 years’ sentence in a U.S. prison for his role in planning the 26/11 attacks. Before the Mumbai attacks, Rana, a fellow convict in the attack on a newspaper in Denmark, had helped Headley obtain a multiple-entry business visa through Raymond Sanders, who ran an immigrant law centre in Chicago.
During Headley’s cross examination in March 2016, before a special court in Mumbai, Headley had said Rana knew that he was acting as spy and that Rana did not object to his association with LeT and his participation in the attacks. Rana had helped Headley open an immigration firm in Mumbai, which was a cover to conduct reconnaissance of targets that were attacked on November 26, 2008. Rana is also wanted for his role in plotting attacks on the National Defence College and Chabad House, the Jewish outreach centre in Mumbai.
Headley had also informed the court that upon instructions of Major Iqbal of Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) he had visited the Bhabha Atomic Research Centre. He quickly added that he did not visit the place to conduct surveillance but to recruit people from there and that Rana knew about it. Rana knew about the attacks in the Taj Mahal Palace Hotel and its second floor as Headley and Rana had discussed the locations of the attack in great detail.
On being asked about who gave him money to carry out recce in Mumbai, Headley had told the court that neither Pakistan’s ISI nor LeT gave him any money and that Rana who had come to receive him in Mumbai gave him $500 (around ₹22,500) in September 2006, ₹67,605 in October 2006, ₹17,636 in November and $1,000 (₹45,000) in December 2006.