Tahawwur Rana, a Pakistani-origin Canadian businessman, has filed a writ of habeas corpus challenging a recent US court order that approved his extradition to India. Rana is accused of playing a role in the 2008 Mumbai terror attack, which claimed the lives of 166 people, including six Americans.
The US District Court Central District of California had granted the extradition request last month, paving the way for Rana to face trial in India. However, Rana's attorney has raised two key arguments against his extradition, claiming that it would violate the United States-India extradition treaty.
Firstly, Rana's attorney argues that he has already been tried and acquitted in the United States District Court for the Northern District of Illinois for charges related to the same conduct for which India seeks to prosecute him. They maintain that according to Article 6(1) of the treaty, extradition should not be granted when the person sought has already been convicted or acquitted in the requested state.
Secondly, Rana's attorney contends that the materials submitted by the Indian government, including transcripts and exhibits from Rana's trial in the Northern District of Illinois, do not establish probable cause that he committed the offenses for which he is charged in India. They claim that this failure to satisfy Article 9.3(c) of the treaty warrants the granting of the writ of habeas corpus, leading to Rana's release.
India's National Investigation Agency (NIA) has been investigating Rana's alleged involvement in the Mumbai terror attack and expressed its readiness to initiate proceedings to bring him to India through diplomatic channels. Rana is currently detained at the Metropolitan Detention Center in Los Angeles.
The 2008 Mumbai terror attacks shook the nation as 10 Pakistani terrorists laid siege to the city for over 60 hours, targeting iconic and vital locations. With the extradition proceedings now under scrutiny, the legal battle surrounding Rana's alleged role in the attack takes a crucial turn as both sides present their arguments before the US court.
Meanwhile, Prime Minister Narendra Modi is also set to embark on his first official state visit to the United States from June 21 to 24. During his visit, he will be hosted by US President Joe Biden at the White House. This visit holds great significance as it marks Modi's first state visit to the US during his nine-year tenure as prime minister. While he has made multiple visits to the US before, this official state visit is considered the highest ranked visit in terms of diplomatic protocol. The last state visit by an Indian prime minister to the US was conducted by Manmohan Singh in 2009.
(With PTI Inputs)