In another achievement for PM Modi’s foreign policy, Tahawwur Hussain Rana, convicted and held in the US for plotting the 2008 Mumbai terror attack, will soon be handed over to India. Tahawwur Hussain Rana, a Pakistani-Canadian physician, and criminal mastermind is currently serving a 14 years jail sentence in the US. Media reports further suggest that the Trump administration is in “full co-operation” with the Government of India and is ready for Rana’s extradition before his current jail term ends in December 2021.
News agency PTI quoted a source saying, “There is a strong possibility of extradition of Rana to India on completion of his jail term here. We (US and India) are working on this”. Not to forget that there were previous attempts for Rana’s extradition but unforeseen challenges had surfaced up. One of the challenges was to complete the paperwork necessary to expedite the extradition. Another difficulty was to overcome the cumbersome bureaucratic and judicial formalities.
Ministry of External Affairs, Ministry of Home Affairs and Ministry of Law and Justice and the US’ State Department and the Department of Justice, each of them has their own extradition procedure in place. But after a recent visit by India’s National Investigation Agency (NIA) team to the USA, officials from both the sides have agreed to cut down on the bureaucratic procedures. Afterward, the NIA is expected to have direct communication with their US counterparts. This will surely help to cut short the timeframe and bureaucratic formalities. In case, the US government in co-operation with the Indian government is unable to complete the necessary paperwork prior to his jail term; Rana’s extradition will become a very tough task. As per the US law, Rana will be deported to Canada, after his jail sentence ends in December 2021.
Tahawwur Rana has been accused of being close to Lashkar-e-Taiba and of providing material support to it, to carry out Mumbai attacks in 2009. Rana is also told to be behind formulating the strategy to carry out attacks at National Defense College and Chabad Houses.
FBI had nabbed Tahawwur Rana in Chicago on Oct 18, 2009, over the charges of providing material support to terror activities outside the US including Mumbai and Denmark Capital Copenhagen. In Copenhagen, the former physician is alleged of supporting a plot of murder which stretches from October 2008 to October 2009. Reportedly, Rana has also been behind the plan of murdering the employees of a Danish Newspaper.
India would not seek extradition of Rana on the charges for which he is already serving his jail sentence, as officials pointed out that the “double jeopardy” clause in the US justice system prohibits punishing a person twice for the same crime. In past during the Congress regime, there appeared no hope for the Mumbai terror victims to get justice and the perpetrators either roamed freely in Pakistan or were locked in American jails with Indian Agencies having nothing to do. The ‘status quo’ seems to have undergone a change with the US ready to help in extradition. The credit indeed has to go to Indian diplomacy.