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2 pak charged with Headley, Rana
Chicago, Jan 15 (IANS):
Published on 15 Jan. 2010 11:56 PM IST
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US federal authorities have expanded the scope of the Mumbai terror attack investigation by including a suspected Pakistani terrorist and a retired Pakistani army major for the first time in their indictment. A federal grand jury returned an indictment against one of the main planners of the Mumbai attack, David Coleman Headley, and included three other defendants. They include Canadian-Pakistani doctor Tahawwur Hussain Rana, who is a permanent resident of the US, Ilyas Kashmiri, described as an allegedly influential terrorist organisation leader in Pakistan who is alleged to be in regular contact with leaders of Al Qaeda, and Abdur Rehman Hashim Syed (Abdur Rehman), a retired major in the Pakistani military. They have been indicted for participating in “conspiracies involving a planned terrorist attack against the Danish newspaper Jyllands Posten and the November 2008 terrorist attacks in Mumbai that killed approximately 164 people, including six Americans”. The new indictment contains charges on 12 counts, which were earlier filed against Headley Dec 7, 2009. In adding Rana, Kashmiri and Syed, the federal prosecutors appeared to establish contours of a larger, more organised conspiracy. “Both Rana and Abdur Rehman were charged separately in previous court filings, but today’s indictment charges Kashmiri for the first time, although he was identified by name in the charges filed previously against Rana, Abdur Rehman and Headley,” the US Attorney’s office said. Rana, 49, who has remained in federal custody in Chicago since he was arrested Oct 18, 2009, in connection with the planned attack in Denmark, has now also been indicted on three counts of “providing material support to terrorism or a terrorist organisation - one count of providing material support in preparation for and in carrying out the Mumbai attacks; one count of providing material support to the Denmark terrorism plot; and one count of providing material support to Lashkar-e-Taiba (Lashkar).” “Kashmiri and Abdur Rehman, also known as ‘Major Abdur Rehman’ and ‘Pasha’, were each charged with one count of conspiracy to murder and maim persons in Denmark, and one count of providing material support to the Danish terrorism plot. Neither man is in US custody,” the authorities said. Headley, 49, a US citizen and Chicago resident, already faces the same 12 counts that were filed against him last month -- six counts of conspiracy involving bombing public places in India, murdering and maiming people in India and Denmark, providing material support to foreign terrorist plots, and providing material support to Lashkar, and six counts of aiding and abetting the murder of US citizens in India. Headley has remained in federal custody in Chicago since he was arrested in Chicago Oct 3, 2009. He has pleaded not guilty to the charges but previously authorised the Justice Department to disclose that he is cooperating in the ongoing investigation. According to the charges, “unnamed Lashkar Member A, who served as a `handler’ for Headley and another person associated with Lashkar, advised Headley in late 2005 that Headley would be travelling to India to perform surveillance of potential targets for Lashkar. Headley changed his given name of Daood Gilani Feb 15, 2006, in Philadelphia, enabling him to present himself in India as an American who was neither Muslim nor Pakistani. In the spring of 2006, Lashkar Member A and a Lashkar associate discussed with Headley the idea that he could open an immigration office in Mumbai as a cover for his surveillance activities”. The official release said that in approximately June 2006, Headley allegedly travelled to Chicago, advised Rana of his assignment to scout potential targets in India, and obtained approval from Rana, who owned First World Immigration Services in Chicago and elsewhere, to open a First World office in Mumbai as cover for his activities. Rana allegedly directed an individual associated with First World to prepare documents supporting Headley’s cover story of opening a First World office in Mumbai, and advised Headley how to obtain a visa for travel to India. Headley misrepresented his birth name, his father’s true name and the purpose of his travel in his visa application, the indictment alleges. “In July 2006, unnamed Person A in Pakistan gave Headley approximately $25,000 to establish and operate the Mumbai office of First World and to pay for living expenses while Headley carried out his assignment for Lashkar,” the charges add. Headley later made five extended trips to Mumbai - in September 2006, February and September 2007, and April and July 2008 - each time taking photographs and making videotapes of various potential targets, including those attacked in November 2008, and using his association with First World as cover for his travels. The indictment offers some new details about the planning of the Mumbai attack, including how before every trip to Mumbai Headley was paid $1,000 to $2,000 in Indian rupees to meet his expenses. He was also allegedly shown a styrofoam mock-up of the Taj Mahal hotel.

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