New Delhi: Disappointed over Tahawwur Hussain Rana's acquittal by a US court on charges of plotting the Mumbai attacks, Indian government on Friday said it will soon take a decision on filing a charge sheet against him and LeT operative David Headley in an Indian court. (Agencies)
"We are disappointed that Rana was acquitted on the count of conspiracy to provide material support to the Mumbai terrorist attacks," Secretary, Internal Security in the Ministry of Home Affairs, U K Bansal, said in a statement.
Bansal said the government has taken note of the verdict pronounced by a US District Court in the Rana case following the finding by the jury that the Pakistani-Canadian was guilty on two of the three counts.
Rana has been found guilty on one count of 'conspiracy to provide material support to the terrorism plot in Denmark' and the other of 'providing material support to Lashkar-e-Taiba'.
The jury acquitted Rana of conspiracy to provide material support to the Mumbai terror attacks.
Bansal said the National Investigation Agency (NIA), which is probing the case against Headley, Rana and others, had decided to wait for proceedings to conclude in the US
court before filing a charge sheet in an Indian court against the accused.
The NIA has also sought certain documents and evidence that were produced in the Chicago court and expects to receive them.
"After examining the verdict in the US court and after reviewing the documents and evidence that it expects to receive, NIA will take a decision on filing a charge sheet against Headley, Rana and others in an Indian court," he said. Prosecution in the US had produced in the court evidence to show that "Headley had advised Rana of his assignment to scout potential targets in India," Bansal said.
Headley obtained Rana's consent to open an office of First World Immigration Services as a cover for his activities and Rana advised Headley on how to obtain a visa for travel to
"Headley and Rana had reviewed how Headley had done surveillance of the targets that were attacked in Mumbai. Evidence was also produced that Rana told Headley that the terrorists involved in Mumbai attacks should receive Pakistan's highest military honours posthumously," he said.
Bansal said one must remember that Rana was tried in a US court in accordance with the US law. Criminal trials in the US are jury trials and there are special rules governing such
"While Rana's lawyers have stated that they will file an appeal against the verdict, it is not yet clear whether the US authorities would also file an appeal against the acquittal on one count of conspiracy," he said.
Bansal's statement came hours after he said that Rana's acquittal was not a setback as India does not rely overtly on prosecution of terror suspects in other countries.
"I do not see it as a setback as our case (in India) is still under investigation," he told reporters.
Bansal also said prosecution in India against Rana and Headley depends on India's own investigations which was being done by Indian investigating agencies.
"In our handling of terrorism in India, we do not rely overtly on prosecution in other countries. We have to rely on our own strength," he said.
Verdict will not affect Kasab case
The verdict of a US court holding Pakistani-Canadian Tahawwur Rana not guilty for the Mumbai terror attacks would not affect the legal proceedings against terrorist Ajmal Kasab and also the charge against LeT that they had masterminded the strikes, special public prosecutor Ujjwal Nikam said.
"However, it pains me to hear how Rana was exonerated from criminal conspiracy of 26/11 terror attack particularly when co-accused David Headley's evidence about complicity of
both of them in the conspiracy has been accepted by the court," Nikam told PTI while reacting to the verdict.
Rana was acquitted by a Chicago court on the charges of plotting the Mumbai attacks but was found guilty of supporting LeT and planning a strike in Denmark.
The law of conspiracy in USA, UK, India and Pakistan is very clear to the effect that once a conspiracy is hatched and participants have been involved in that, then it is not necessary that conspirators should do overt acts as conspiracy itself is a punishable offence, said Nikam, who was prosecutor in the Mumbai court which conducted the 26/11 trial.
"When the Chicago Court accepted Headley's evidence that he and Rana had hatched a criminal conspiracy with LeT, then the acquittal of Rana from the 26/11 terror attacks is itself contradictory," Nikam said.
Once the Chicago court accepted the theory of conspiracy about the involvement of Rana and Headley in plotting various terrorist acts then the court ought to have held Rana guilty
of 26/11 terror attacks, Nikam said.
India should reconsider US policy: Modi
Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi today said that clean chit given to Tahawwur Rana in Mumbai terror attack-related charges by a US court was a "foreign policy setback", and demanded that India reconsider its policy towards United States.
"Just to please Pakistan, US has unlocked the ways for all the 26/11 Mumbai attack terrorists to be free of guilt. It is time that the central government should rethink its
policy towards US," Modi said.
"US declaring Tahawwur Rana innocent in Mumbai attack has disgraced the sovereignty of India and it is a major foreign policy setback," Modi stated on his Twitter page.
"The masterminds active behind the terrorist movements in India will now seek justice in the courts of America," the Gujarat Chief Minister said.
"Will US let the Indian court take a trial of 9/11 terrorist attack case?" he tweeted.
Modi has always been critical of the Centre's policy in connection with the 26/11 vis a vis Pakistan and United States.
Tahawwur Rana was on Friday held not guilty on the charges of involvement in the 26/11 Mumbai attacks by a US federal court, which however convicted him for providing material support to Pakistan-based terror group LeT, and for plotting an attack in Denmark.
New Delhi: Disappointed over Tahawwur Hussain Rana's acquittal by a US court on charges of plotting the Mumbai attacks, Indian government on Friday said it will soon take a decision on filing a charge sheet against him and LeT operative David Headley in an Indian court.