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Tahawwur Rana plotted 26/11 attack with David Headley: US attorney

Tuesday, 7 June 2011 - 8:48pm IST Updated: Tuesday, 7 June 2011 - 10:28pm IST | Place: Chicago | Agency: PTI

'Rana knowingly conspired with Headley on terror plots, both Mumbai and Copenhagen. Rana was not fooled by Headley. Rana was not duped by Headley. Rana knew about the terror plots and helped him in carrying these terror plots and activities,' a US federal attorney said.

Pakistani-Canadian Tahawwur Rana was involved in the Mumbai attacks and he and his friend David Headley were part of the same team that carried out the terror assault in 2008, a US federal attorney told a Chicago court.

"Evidences flatly contradict the defence argument that Rana was not part of it. Rana and Headley were part of the same team," the attorney said as the closing argument in the Rana case started.

"Rana knowingly conspired with Headley on terror plots, both Mumbai and Copenhagen. Rana was not fooled by Headley. Rana was not duped by Headley. Rana knew about the terror plots and helped him in carrying these terror plots and activities."

"In 2005 Headley told Rana that he was receiving training from Lashkar. There is no dispute that Lashkar-e-Taiba is a designated terrorist organisation.

In 2006 Rana helped Headley open an immigration office even he had no immigration experience.

Rana knew that Headley had other projects in India and was working with HuJI commander Iliyas Kashmiri and Sajid Mir, one the Pakistani handlers of Headley. Headley briefed Rana every time he came back from India.

Rana knew by May of 2008 knew of the Mumbai terrorist attack plan. Pakistani handlers knew that Rana was helping Headley in the terror endeavor," the attorney said.

Earlier, the jury arrived in the court room at 9.30 am local time. The proceedings began with government attorney, presenting his case.

Rana who did not appear tense, greeted his attorneys and smiled at his wife Samraz who was seated in the courtroom.

Headley, 50, during his testimony on May 31, had said that he made a "fool" of his friend Rana by involving him in the 26/11 Mumbai attack conspiracy.

"I made a fool of him (Rana). Poor fellow was stuck in this for no fault of his. I made a fool of him in getting to assist me on what I did. I made a fool of him," Headley said.

While Headley has plead guilty, Rana has maintained that he is not guilty in the charge of "support to terrorism".

If convicted Rana, 50, faces a possible life sentence.

During the trial which has lasted nearly two weeks, the defence depicted Headley as skilled manipulator who kept his Rana in the dark about his terrorist activity while using him as an unwitting accomplice.

Headley, a Pakistani-American, the star witness in the case of Rana, who is standing trial after being slapped with a dozen charges in connection with the Mumbai attacks in which 166 persons, including six Americans were killed.

Rana was indicted by a federal grand jury under 12 counts on February 15 last year for planning out the Mumbai attacks, providing material support to LeT to carry out the bombings, and guiding Headley in scouting targets in Mumbai in the process.

Headley formally admitted to 12 terrorism charges in March 2010 after striking a deal with US prosecutors to avoid the death penalty or extradition to India, Pakistan or Denmark to face related charges.

Headley kept Rana in the loop. In fact ISI's Major Iqbal, reached Rana and wanted to know progress made on the project (Mumbai attacks), Federal prosecutor said.

The e-mails, displayed during the trial, show that Rana was using heightened security measures to communicate with Headley. Rana knew that Headley's activities are leading to some serious issue.

When attack in Mumbai began, Rana was not surprised. "He knew it from Headley and Pasha (or Abdur Rehman Hashim Syed), a retired major from the Pakistani Army). Rana laughed at the moment when the attacks in Mumbai started," the prosecutor said.

"When the city (Mumbai) was under siege this did not come out of the blue for Rana. Pasha had tipped him about it in Dubai. Pasha gave him a warning that attack is imminent."

"This means that Pasha knew that Rana was part of the inner circle.....When Headley arrived in the US after the attacks, he told Rana every thing about Mumbai and his involvement from surveillance to video recording," government attorney Vicky Peters said.

After Mumbai, Pasha told Headley to carry out surveillance of Chabad House and National Defence College. But Headley was scared about his safety. So he sent Rana his will before going to India. Rana responded by acknowledging receiving his will.

Rana tries to communicate with Headley using a code. Rana told Headley that he was trying to set up an account for communication with him while he (Headley) was in India.

"Headley was not hiding anything from Rana," said Peters.

"If Headley was duping Rana then why did not the latter ask question about Headley's travel plan to Copenhagen?" Peters asked.

Pasha told Headley that "Lashkar's jihad is ISI jihad and Kashmiris jihad was God's jihad".

Headley felt confident and comfortable in sharing information with Rana on the Copenhagen terror plan to target the office of the Danish newspaper Jyllands-Posten after it printed controversial cartoons of Prophet Mohammed in 2005.

While he was in Copenhagen, Headley communicated with Rana on several things. They also communicated about the flight ticket from Copenhagen to the US.

He shared with Rana his expectations that (Ilyas) Kashmiri's guys in London would go and meet him in Pakistan on the Copenhagen project.

Rana was aware of what was going on in Copenhagen from a secret conversation.

Peters also quoted extensively from the transcripts of the conversation between Rana and Headley on September 7, 2009.

During the proceedings, Rana was seen making notes.

The federal prosecutor asked the the defence do you really believe that Rana knew nothing about it?

"He was duped he was kept in the dark. This was not true. Headley always kept Rana in the loop. If Headley had kept Rana in the dark why would he would send news article to Rana on Kashmiri?"

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