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Why is India not keen on questioning Headley's friend Dr Tawwahur Rana?

By Vicky

In the month of May 11 2011, the National Investigating Agency had prepared a detailed questionnaire for Tawwahur Rana. Well that questionnaire still does exist, but the only point is that the NIA has not managed to question Rana as yet.

Rana apart from being a friend of David Headley's was formerly a doctor in the Pakistan army before leaving for the United States of America.

India not keen on questioning Rana

Headley in his ongoing testimony has named his friend Dr. Rana several times. Among the disclosures relating to Rana, Headley said that he had helped with travel documents when he wanted to visit India and carried out a reconnaissance for the 26/11 attack.

Further he also said that it was Basheer a friend of Rana who received him at the Mumbai airport when he visited the city for the first time in 2006.

Rana needs to be questioned to complete 26/11 puzzle

Rana is not an ordinary operative. He was part of the Pakistan army and later guiding and helping David Headley with his work on 26/11. If India is serious about probing some of the local links in the attack, then Rana will also have to be questioned. For instance, Rana could throw more light on Basheer the man who received Headley.

Headley does speak about Basheer during his testimony, but there was just a statement and the Public Prosecutor did not probe him further for details.

The NIA has been claiming since 2011 that it would question Rana. Only recently the NIA also made a move to have him extradited, but that issue is stuck in a legal tussle with the United States of America.

Officials of the NIA held discussions with the Department of Justice, United States of America in which the custody of Rana was sought. During the discussion, the NIA quoted that there is nothing that prevents Rana's extradition.

The NIA officials said that according to the chargesheet filed by them Rana had forged documents along with Headley as per the instructions of the Lashkar-e-Taiba and this was a punishable offence.

However, since Rana is sentenced to a 14 year jail term in the US, the Department of Justice raised the question of double jeopardy.

They sought to know from the NIA whether sentencing Rana twice would not lead to double jeopardy. The NIA however argued that it would not amount to double jeopardy. They further gave a legal opinion to the Department of Justice in this regard.

The Department of Justice is considering the plea by the NIA. No Indian agency has questioned Rana so far. There have been legal complications due to which the questioning has not taken place.

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