Chicago, Jan 26(ANI): Canadian businessman Tahawwur Rana has pleaded not guilty to playing a role in the three-day terrorist rampage that killed more than 160 people in Mumbai between November 26 and 29, 2008
Charged on January 14 with three counts of lending material support to terrorist conspiracies, Rana - arrested in a separate case in October - is accused of relaying messages, money and documents that helped bring the Mumbai massacre to fruition.
It is alleged that long before the attack shocked the world, there was a secret meeting in Chicago, at which 49-year-old Rana was asked to provide a cover story that would facilitate the operative's entry into India and help him lay the groundwork for the Mumbai attacks.
The operative "obtained Rana's approval for opening an office ... as cover for these activities," according to an indictment approved by a U.S. grand jury.
The operative who visited him in 2006 was David Coleman Headley, a Pakistani American and friend of Rana since they attended a Pakistani military school together.
It is alleged that Headley, who anglicized his Pakistani name that same year, slipped into India five times before the attacks posing as an immigration consultant.
He took boat trips in the Mumbai harbour, visited an out-of-the way synagogue, Chabad House, and spent much of his time videotaping the insides of luxury hotels, as well as the routes leading to them.
U.S. prosecutors say the travels were used to create a roadmap to terrorism.
Headley allegedly mapped out his visits with video cameras and GPS devices, before travelling to Pakistan to brief his terrorist handlers.
In the fall of 2008, the 10 terrorist gunmen landed by watercraft in the harbour and stormed the hotels and synagogue. Only one survived to be captured. (ANI)