Great success for India: Ujjwal Nikam on U.S. court approval for extradition of 26/11 Mumbai terror attacks accused Tahawwur Rana

U.S. court approves extradition of Tahawwur Rana to India where he is sought for his involvement in the 2008 Mumbai terror attack

May 18, 2023 01:04 pm | Updated 03:37 pm IST - Mumbai

Special Public Prosecutor Ujjwal Nikam. File

Special Public Prosecutor Ujjwal Nikam. File | Photo Credit: PTI

Senior lawyer Ujjwal Nikam, the Special Public Prosecutor in the 26/11 Mumbai terror attacks case, on May 18 said the U.S. court's approval for extradition of the case accused Pakistani-origin Canadian businessman Tahawwur Rana to India is a great success for the country.

On June 10, 2020, India filed a complaint seeking the provisional arrest of 62-year-old Rana with a view towards extradition. The Biden Administration had supported and approved the extradition of Rana to India.

Also Read | U.S. court allows extradition of 26/11 attack accused Pakistani-origin Canadian Tahawwur Rana to India

A total of 166 people, including six Americans, were killed in the 2008 Mumbai terror attacks in which 10 Pakistani terrorists laid a more than 60-hour siege from the night of November 26, attacking and killing people at iconic and vital locations of the city.

The U.S. court has consented to the Indian request, through the U.S. Government, for the extradition of Rana to India where he is sought for his involvement in the 2008 Mumbai terror attack.

"The Court has reviewed and considered all of the documents submitted in support of and in opposition to the Request, and has considered the arguments presented at the hearing,” Judge Jacqueline Chooljian, U.S. Magistrate Judge of the U.S. District Court Central District of California, said in a 48-page court order dated May 16, which was released on May 17 .

Also Read | Between Feb 2002-Dec 2015, 60 fugitives extradited or deported by foreign governments to India

There is an extradition treaty in place between India and the United States. The judge ruled that the extradition of Rana to India is fully under the jurisdiction of the treaty.

Mr. Nikam told PTI that it is a great success for India in marshalling strong evidence against Rana in the U.S..

Earlier the U.S. courts were reluctant, he added.

The lawyer said Rana is one of the conspirators of the 26/11 attack.

"His role has been vividly explained by [Lashkar-e-Taiba operative] David Headley, whom I had examined during his deposition [before the special court in Mumbai]," Mr. Nikam said.

From providing logistical support to being in touch with the Pakistan Army officials, Headley had explained everything, he said.

Headley, who turned an approver, had deposed before the Mumbai sessions court through a video-link from the U.S. during the case trial.

Also Read | Headley writes memoir in prison on 26/11 attacks, Lashkar

The U.S. court in its May 16 order said it has reviewed and considered all of the documents submitted in support of and in opposition to the request, and has considered the arguments presented at the hearing.

"Based on such review and consideration and for the reasons discussed herein, the court makes the findings set forth below, and CERTIFIES to the Secretary of State of the United States the extraditability of Rana on the charged offences that are the subject of the request," it said.

Rana was arrested in the U.S. on an extradition request by India for his role in these attacks.

India's National Investigation Agency (NIA) is conducting a probing into his role in the 26/11 attacks carried out by Pakistan-based Lashkar-e-Taiba terrorists in 2008. The NIA has said it is ready to initiate proceedings to bring him to India through diplomatic channels.

Ajmal Kasab, the lone surviving Pakistani gunman in the Mumbai carnage in which 166 persons were killed, was awarded death sentence by a special Mumbai court in 2010 for the mass murders and waging a war against India.

He was hanged to death at the Yerwada jail in Maharashtra's Pune city in November 2012.

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