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Rana's firm's operations may help track terror links: Officers

world Updated: Jan 10, 2010 13:21 IST

US sleuths probing the operations of an immigration business run by Pakistani-Canadian LeT operative Tahawwur Hussain Rana feel that allowing the firm to continue to function will help monitor its clients for "possible terrorist ties".

49-year-old Rana's immigration consultancy firm First World Immigration, located in the Indian-Pakistani street Devon Avenue here, is being probed for possible acts of immigration fraud as part of wider investigation into an international terror plot against India and Denmark.

"Despite the firm's alleged ties to terror, there is value in allowing First World Immigration to continue doing business as normal since it made it easier for the FBI to monitor its clients for possible terrorist ties. If you shut it down, those people are lost to the wind," NBC Chicago quoted a senior law-enforcement official as saying.

It said the case against the businessman based in Chicago is especially troubling because it is a rare example of how a seemingly legitimate American business — in this case, Rana's visa-processing firm — may have been used as a front for an overseas terrorist network that targets Americans.

The FBI has said Rana's accomplice David Coleman Headley, charged with criminal conspiracy in the Mumbai attacks, used the immigration firm as cover for his travels to India and Denmark as he scouted for terror targets.

Rana is under investigation for links to the Mumbai strikes that killed 166 people. His First World has offices in Chicago, New York and Toronto.