A federal US court is all set to hold on Thursday an in-person extradition hearing of Pakistani-origin Canadian businessman Tahawwur Rana, who is sought for his involvement in the November 26, 2008 Mumbai terror attack.
A team of officials from India is believed to have arrived in the US for the proceedings that will take place in a federal court in Los Angeles.
US District Court Judge in Los Angeles Jacqueline Chooljian in her order on April 5 had moved the in-person extradition hearing of 59-year-old Rana to India from April 22 to June 24.
The United States government, in multiple submissions before the court, has made a declaration in support of the “United States’ Rebuttal in Support of its Request for Certification of Extradition.”
Rana is sought in India in connection with his involvement in the 2008 Mumbai terrorist attack.
Rana, a childhood friend of prime convict David Coleman Headley, was re-arrested on June 10, 2020 in Los Angeles on an extradition request by India for his involvement in the Mumbai terror attack, in which 166 people, including six Americans, were killed.
He has been declared a fugitive by India.
Headley, 60, was made an approver in the case, and is currently serving a 35-year prison term in the US for his role in the attack. Rana has opposed his extradition to India, arguing that he has already been convicted by a US court in Chicago.
The United States government asserts that the premise of Rana’s argument is incorrect because the Indian substantive charges are not considered lesser and included offenses of their conspiracy charges.
As per the India-US Extradition Treaty, the Indian government has requested the formal extradition of Rana, and the United States has initiated this extradition proceeding. The US government has argued that Rana meets all the criteria warranting certification of his extradition to India.
These are: the court has both personal and subject matter jurisdiction, there is an extradition treaty between the United States and India that is in full force and effect, and the crimes for which Rana’s extradition is sought are covered by the terms of the treaty.
In his previous court submission on February 4, Rana’s attorney had argued that his extradition is barred under Article 6 of the United States-India extradition treaty because he had previously been acquitted of the offences for which his extradition is sought, and under Article 9 of the treaty because the government has not established probable cause to believe that Rana committed the alleged offences.