Mumbai terror suspect Rana to be arraigned May 4

Last Updated: Wed, Apr 27, 2011 13:00 hrs

Chicago, April 27 (IANS) Pakistani Canadian terror suspect Tahawwur Hussain Rana is set to be arraigned in a US district court here May 4 for his role in the November 2008 Mumbai terror attack.

Rana, who owns First World Immigration service, is charged with providing material help to Pakistan-based terror outfit Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT), blamed for the 26/11 attack, by giving the cover of his business to David Coleman Headley to scout targets in Mumbai.

Rana, who unlike Headley has not pleaded guilty, will have to appear in court May 4 for his arraignment for his trial set to start May 16, US District Judge Harry Leinenweber ruled Tuesday.

In a second superseding indictment, US prosecutors Monday charged four top Pakistani terrorists in the 26/11 terror attack that left 166 dead, including six Americans.

The new accused are: Sajid Mir, a handler in the LeT also known as 'Wasi', 'Ibrahim', and 'Sajid Majeed'; Abu Qahafa; Mazhar Iqbal also known as 'Abu Al Qama'; and a fourth defendant known only by the alias 'Major Iqbal'.

An unnamed individual 'Lashkar Member D' was also mentioned. All are residents of Pakistan and none of them are in US custody.

Randall Samborn, spokesman for the US attorney's office, said he would not comment on whether Headley provided the names of the new defendants or if US officials know where they are.

According to the indictment, Major Iqbal communicated with Headley by passing messages to him through Rana while Headley started scouting targets in or about July 2008, Son of a Pakistani father and an American mother, Headley had changed his given name of Daood Gilani two years before the attacks to hide his Pakistani origin.

Rana was indicted by a federal grand jury under 12 counts in February last year. If convicted, he faces a possible life sentence.

Rana, who had served as a doctor in the Pakistani Army Medical Corps before he migrated to Canada, is also accused of plotting an attack with Headley on a Danish newspaper Jyllands-Posten that published cartoons of Prophet Muhammad.