A Question Of Few Months: Ujjwal On Possible Extradition Of Tahawwur Rana
Ujjwal Nikam, the special public prosecutor of the 26/11 Mumbai terror attack case, says the possible extradition of Pakistani-origin Canadian businessman Tahawwur Rana, an accused in the case, is now a question of a few months.
Nikam’s statement came on the heels of US State Department Principal Deputy Spokesperson Vedant Patel’s remarks to call for those involved in the 26/11 Mumbai attacks to be brought to justice.
Patel, however, said that the extradition process of Tahawwur Rana is a “pending matter”.
A US court on Thursday denied the writ of habeas corpus filed by Tahawwur Rana, paving the way for US Secretary of State Antony Blinken to issue a certification for him to be extradited to India, where he is facing charges of his involvement in 2008 Mumbai terror attacks.
On the US court denying the writ of habeas corpus, Ujjwal Nikam said, “Indeed it’s a great success for India and I have no hesitation to say that because of the good relations between the US government and Indian government, the US administration had correctly declared that in any case whosoever the offender in the 26/11 terror attack case on Mumbai they should be punished according to law.”
“ It would all depend now on the US administration as to when Tahawwur Rana is to be sent back to India for trial. The moot question is where he will be tried, whether in the NIA court at Delhi or elsewhere, those questions will be decided by the investigating agency,” the special public prosecutor of the 26/11 case added.
Tahawwur Rana is not the first person who is currently serving time in a US jail after being accused of being part of the 26/11 attack conspiracy. Before Rana, David Coleman Headley was also arrested by the US. Headley struck a plea bargain with the US government to avoid being extradited to India. His statement was howver recorded by Nikam who had cross-examined him in an open court through a virtual conference.
When asked if he sees any major development if Tahawwur Rana is brought to India and is examined as a witness or accused, Nikam said, “Indeed because that Rana is basically Pakistan national born person and later on he accepted the US government’s citizenship and thereafter staying even in the US he was indulging in these terrorist activities.”
“Now it is more than clear that David Headley was his left and right-hand person and with the connivance of Rana, he opened the immigration office in Mumbai. So David Headley had visited India before the terror attack of 26/11 even after the terror attack similarly Tahawwur Rana had also visited Mumbai.”
In response to a question on how much time it could take to extradite Rana to India, Nikam said that both US and India’s diplomacy will work out on this issue because ultimately, according to US law also they have to give all opportunity to a criminal to defend himsefl.
“After availing all the opportunities, I’m sure very soon. Because now it is a question of a few months because Tahawwur Rana has lost his habeas corpus for the petition and according to my knowledge, now he has no option” Nikam said.
US State Department on Thursday said that Washington is committed to confronting terrorism across the world and continues to call for those involved in the 26/11 Mumbai attacks to be brought to justice.
“What I can say is that we are committed to confronting terrorism across the world and we continue to call for those involved in the 2008 Mumbai attacks to be brought to justice,” said State Department spokesperson Vedant Patel.
During the recently concluded monsoon session of the Indian parliament the Home Minister Amit Shah had informed the House that Tahawwur Rana would face the Indian judiciary soon.
Tahawwur Rana was arrested in the US on an extradition request by India for his role in the Mumbai attacks that killed 175 people, including six Americans.
Indian authorities allege that Rana conspired with his childhood friend David Coleman Headley to assist the Pakistani terror group Lashkar-e-Taiba in orchestrating the terror attacks. David Headley had pleaded guilty and testified against Rana. (ANI)
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