A federal grand jury in Chicago on Thursday formally indicted Tahawwur Hussain Rana (49) — arrested along with David Headley for their links to the Laskhkar-e-Tayebba — for conspiring to carry out the Mumbai 26/11 attacks of 2008.
The indictment is a preliminary step to pressing formal charges. Until now, Rana had only been charged of conspiracy to attack the Danish newspaper Jyllands-Posten, which had carried irreverent cartoons featuring Prophet Mohammed.
The 33-page indictment document says Rana provided “material support in preparation for, and in carrying out, the Mumbai attacks.”
Two others have also been indicted – but only for planning an attack on Jyllands-Posten: former Pakistani army major Abdur Rehman Hashim Syed and Ilyas Kashmiri, who is associated with both the Lashkar and the Harkat-ul-jehadi-Islami. Neither is as yet in custody, and are believed to hiding in Pakistan.
Rana’s lawyer Patrick Blegen argued that his client had no connection to the 26/11 terrorist attacks, but the indictment stated otherwise. Headley has already been indicted for his role in the 26/11 strike. But the document provides fresh details of his complicity.
According to it, around June 2006, Headley met Rana in Chicago and informed him of his “assignment to scout potential targets in India”. Rana, owner of the Chicago-based First World Immigration Services, apparently approved the idea of Headley opening an office of that outfit in Mumbai as “cover for his activities.”