US federal prosecutors have added four top Pakistani terrorists linked to Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) outfit as accused for helping Pakistani-Canadian Tahawwur Rana to plot the November 2008 Mumbai terror attack.
The four identified as Sajid Mir, Abu Qahafa, Mazhar Iqbal and Major Iqbal were charged on Monday in US district court in Chicago, though none of them is in US custody.
All four are charged with one count of conspiracy to murder and maim in India, while Mir, Abu Qahafa and Mazhar Iqbal additionally are charged with conspiracy to bomb public places in India.
They also face six counts of aiding and abetting the murder of US citizens in India, which carry maximum sentences of death or life imprisonment.
The revised indictment comes three weeks before the scheduled May 16 trial of Rana, a Canadian citizen who is accused of using his First World Immigration Services business to provide cover to Pakistani-American David Coleman Headley, to scout targets for the Mumbai attack.
Headley pleaded guilty in March 2010 to 12 criminal counts, including aiding and abetting the murder of Americans in Mumbai, and agreed to cooperate with the prosecution in a plea deal to escape the death penalty.
Mir allegedly worked as Headley's handler for two years.
Ten terrorists sneaked into Mumbai Nov 26, 2008, and went on a three-day killing spree, leaving 166 people dead. One of the terrorists, Ajmal Amir Kasab, was caught alive and arrested. The terror strike strained India-Pakistan relations.
The new indictment says that "during the course of attacks in Mumbai, the attackers were in telephonic contact with defendants Sajid Mir, Abu Qahafa and Mazhar Iqbal, all of whom were then located in Pakistan".
"More specifically, during the course of the attacks, the attackers were advised to, among other actions, kill hostages, set fires and throw grenades," the indictment said.
The US prosecutors also accused Mir of working with Headley to plan a terrorist attack on a Danish newspaper, which in 2005 published cartoons on Prophet Mohammed.