Pakistan-born Chicago businessman Tahawwur Hussain Rana, accused of complicity in the Mumbai terror attacks, "is no Gandhi", say US prosecutors questioning his self-portrayal as a man of non-violence.
"Ironically, in invoking the name of a man who embodied the principles of non-violence and speaking the truth, Rana seeks to mislead this court as to the extent of his admiration and support for mass murderers," federal prosecutors said in papers filed Monday in a Chicago federal court.
Opposing Rana's release on bail, the FBI said: "Even if one were to credit Rana's false post-arrest claim that his compliments were directed to 'one of the main planners' for Lashkar-e-Taiba only related to attacks in Kashmir, it is quite clear that Rana is no Gandhi."
Rana, 48, who was arrested last month along with another Pakistani-American terror suspect David Coleman Headley, "knew well in advance" about the deadly Mumbai terror attacks, blamed on the Pakistan based Lashker-e-Taiba (LeT), and offered congratulations to the killers, the new FBI filing said.
In fact, Rana was an admirer of an unnamed member of LeT, which the US in 2001 named as a terrorist organisation, Assistant US Attorney Daniel Collins said.
Rana allegedly told Headley that the unnamed terror group member, who the US said "coordinated" the Mumbai attacks, was a modern day Khalid bin Walid, a 7th-century Islamic military leader, according to the Collins filing.
Bin Walid, the US said, is "recognised as one of the most successful commanders in military history".
After the Mumbai attacks, Rana asked Headley to pass on his compliments to the leader of the Pakistani terror group, prosecutors alleged.
"In the world, if there had been... a medal for command, top class," Rana begins to say on the recording, according to prosecutors. "Very good. Good job."
Rana and Headley, who knew each other from a Pakistani military school, were arrested in October on charges they plotted to kill employees of a Danish newspaper. Rana was accused of arranging Headley's travels and providing a front for his time in Copenhagen.
But Headley, 49, who changed his name from Daood Gilani, was then further charged with scouting targets in Mumbai before the attack. Headley is said to be cooperating with the FBI.