A US District Court has denied the bail application worth $ 1.5 million filed by Pakistani-origin Canadian businessman Tahawwur Rana while considering his flight risk. Rana has been declared fugitive by India for his involvement in the 26/11 Mumbai terror attack.
59 years old Tahawwur Rana, was a childhood friend of the main accused in 2008 Mumbai terror attack, David Coleman Headley, was re-arrested on June 10 in Los Angeles on an extradition request by India.
In a 24 page judgment passed by US District Court Judge in Los Angeles Jacqueline Chooljian, rejected Rana’s bail plea citing that he is a flight risk.
US government opposed in a plea stating that Rana may escape the possibility of a death sentence in India if flee to Canada.
“Given the stakes, an allowance of bail in any amount would not guarantee Rana’s presence in court. Granting bail would invite the possibility of embarrassing the United States in the conduct of its foreign affairs, straining its relationship with India,” said Assistant US Attorney John J Lulejian.
Counsel appearing for Rana contended that US’ decision not to extradite his co-conspirator, Headley, to India is inconsistent and bars his extradition.
“While Rana has presented a robust bail package and proffered conditions which significantly mitigate the risk of flight, the court cannot find that he has negated the risk of flight and accordingly grants the Detention Request (of the government) on that basis” said the court.
The court also stated that for anyone facing conspiracy to murder and murder charges in India, the incentive to flee to avoid extradition is strong.
“If he flees to Canada, he could effectively avoid exposure to the death penalty as such country’s extradition treaty with India contains a provision which allows extradition to be refused if the offence for which extradition is requested is punishable by death in India and is not punishable by death in Canada unless India gives assurances that a death penalty would not be executed,” federal court stated in court.
“There is no question in the court’s mind that given Rana’s significant foreign ties, particularly to Canada, and the potential death penalty awaiting him in India if he is extradited on and convicted of the most serious pending charges, he is a flight risk,” said the court.
As per the federal prosecutor, Rana conspired with his childhood friend Headley aka Daood Gilani and others in Pakistan to assist two US-designated terrorist organizations, Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) and Harakat ul-Jihad-e-Islami, to formulate and carry out the Mumbai terror attack.
Headley is currently serving 35 years of jail term in the US for his involvement in the 26/11 Mumbai terror attack.
India has been seeking Tahawwur arrest for his involvement in the terror attack under the charges including conspiracy to commit murder, conspiracy to commit forgery for the purpose of cheating, and murder under relevant sections of the Indian Penal Code (IPC).
In the horrific 26/11 terror attack in Mumbai in 2008, 166 people were killed, around 300 were injured. Another accused Mohammed Ajmal Kasab who was caught alive was hanged to death on November 21, 2012.