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Rana remains a black hole in terror jigsaw.

WHILE the case of David Coleman Headley remains in the focus even a year after his arrest in the US, his associate Tahawwur Hussain Rana continues to puzzle Indian intelligence officials probing 26/11 terror attack.

Headley, believed to be a CIA agent who had turned rogue, pleaded guilty to all 12 counts of terror and conspiracy charges levelled against him, this year in March.

However, Rana has chosen to not plead guilty and is defending himself in a Chicago court against the terror charges. Sleuths from the National Investigation Agency (NIA) questioned Headley in Chicago a couple of months ago, but there is no confirmation yet if they spoke to Rana or the US offered Rana to be interrogated by the Indian team.

In January this year, a grand jury in the US indicted Rana on three counts of providing material support to terrorism or a terrorist organisation -- one count of providing material support in preparation for and in carrying out the Mumbai attack; another of providing material support to the Denmark terrorism plot; and the one of providing material support to Lashkar-e-Tayyeba.

Pakistani origin Rana (49) is a Canadian citizen. But he used to reside in Chicago. He has remained in federal custody in Chicago since he was arrested on October 18, 2009.

The US court charged Rana of having approved Headley's plan in June 2006 of scouting potential targets in India for a terror attack. Rana, who owned First World Immigration Services in Chicago and elsewhere, also opened an office in Mumbai as cover for Headley's activities.

Headley later made five extended trips to Mumbai -- in September 2006, February and September 2007, and April and July 2008. Each time he had taken photographs and made videotapes of various potential targets, including those attacked in November 2008, the indictment says.

In late December 2008 and early January 2009, Headley reviewed with Rana how he had recced Mumbai. He then advised Rana of the planned attack on the Danish newspaper and his intended travel to Denmark to conduct surveillance of its facilities, the indictment adds. Rana has denied all these charges so far.

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Publication:Mail Today (New Delhi, India)
Geographic Code:9INDI
Date:Oct 19, 2010
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