By Raju Vernekar
Mumbai, Sept 26:
Based on fresh evidence, on Monday, the crime branch of Mumbai Police filed a 405-page supplementary chargesheet in a Special Court, booking Tahawwur Rana, allegedly involved in November 26, 2008 Mumbai Terror attacks, in which 166 people were killed and over 300 people were injured.
Rana, a 62-year-old Pakistani-origin Canadian businessman and former doctor in the Pakistan Army, is at present under detention in the United States. He was arrested in Chicago on October 18, 2009. He was accused of facilitating the attacks by helping another accused David Coleman Headley, in obtaining a fake visa to travel to Pakistan. On June 9, 2011 Rana was also found guilty of providing material support to Lashkar-e-Tayyiba (Le-T).
Headley (aka Daood Gilani), had been a Pakistani-American terrorist. He was arrested on October 3, 2009 in Chicago. On March 18, 2010 he pleaded guilty and on January 24, 2013, he was sentenced to 35 years in prison. He was given a pardon on December 10, 2020, by Special Court in Mumbai in exchange for detailed testimony regarding Le-T and the attacks.
Now the Mumbai Police have added the charge under section 39 A (offence relating to support given to a terrorist organisation) of the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act against Rana for the help given by him to a terror outfit.
The police have booked Rana, based on e-mails sent by him to Headley, who had visited Mumbai 08 times between 2006 and 2008 and had conducted a recce of certain areas of Mumbai. Rana arrived in Mumbai a fortnight before 26/11 resided in a hotel at Powai in North East Mumbai between November 11 to November 21, 2008, during which he was in touch with Headley through e mails and other means of communications and was seeking his directions about the attack, a police officer said. .
Rana who deserted Pakistani Army obtained Canadian citizenship in 2001. Then he moved to Chicago and established various businesses, some of which were allegedly used as cover for terror-related activities.
Between November 26- November 29, 2008, a total of 166 people, including 18 police officers and two NSG commandos, were killed when 10 Le T terrorists from Pakistan arrived by sea route, hijacking a ship owned by Indian fishermen and killing them en route. They entered South Mumbai from Cuffe Parade area on November 26, 2008, and laid a siege for over 60 hours targeting multiple sites, including Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Railway Station, Leopold Cafe, Cama Hospital, Nariman House, and the Oberoi Trident and Taj Mahal Palace hotels.
In a daring rescue operations, by Mumbai Police, National Security Guards, the Marine Commandos of Mumbai Navy and other agencies, 09 terrorists were killed. The lone terrorist Mohammed Ajmal Kasab, was caught alive by police officer Tukaram Omble, sacrificing his own life. Later Kasab was put on trial and sentenced to death by a special court. After his appeals were rejected by the Bombay High Court and Supreme Court, Kasab was hanged to death at Pune’s Yerawada central prison (Maharashtra) on November 21, 2012.