A federal US court has kept in abeyance for more than a year now a decision on extradition of Pakistani-origin Canadian businessman Tahawwur Rana, sought for his involvement in the 2008 Mumbai terror attack, to India.
US District Court, Central District of California in Los Angeles Judge Jacqueline Chooljian held the last hearing on this issue in June 2021 and the last set of papers was filed in July 2021.
But it has been more than a year now and the court is yet to give a verdict on the US government's request to extradite Rana to India. There has been no word from the court since then.
The US government has argued that India's extradition request contains sufficient evidence of probable cause on each of the criminal charges for which India seeks Rana's extradition.
He has been declared a fugitive by India.
Federal prosecutors argued that Rana was aware that his childhood friend David Coleman Headley was involved with Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT), and that by assisting Headley and affording him a cover for his activities, he was supporting the terrorist organization and its associates.
Rana knew of Headley's meetings, what was discussed, and the planning of the attacks, including some of the targets. The US government asserted that Rana was part of the conspiracy and there is probable cause that he committed the substantive crime of commission of a terrorist act.
Rana's attorney on the other hand opposed the extradition.
As many as 166 people, including six Americans, were killed during the attacks by the LeT members. Because members of the conspiracy committed acts resulting in death with the intention of causing death, or at minimum committed those acts knowing its imminent dangers, there is sufficient evidence that the elements for murder would be satisfied, federal prosecutors said.
"Under Indian law, other members of the conspiracy also would be liable for murder, even if they were not physically present," it said. In this case, death resulting from the attacks was foreseeable.
Rana knew that Headley was working with terrorists and that LeT and other co-conspirators were planning attacks in Mumbai. He also was aware of some of the potential targets, such as the Taj Mahal Palace Hotel and its second floor, because he and Headley had discussed those locations.
"Thus, Rana understood that by helping Headley and allowing him to use his immigration office in Mumbai as a cover, LeT and the other terrorists would be able to carry out their attacks. Further, because Headley had a co-conspirator meet Rana in Dubai, UAE, and warn him the upcoming attacks, Rana was in no doubt of what was going to happen," according to the federal prosecutorsd.