US govt asks court to reject Rana re-trial plea

Chicago, January 31: The US government has asked a court to deny Pakistan-born Canadian Tahawwur Rana’s plea for a new trial in cases related to the Mumbai and Denmark terror plots, arguing that he has failed to demonstrate that the court erred in convicting him for aiding Lashkar-e-Taiba.

In June last year, after a three-week trial, 50-year-old Rana was convicted of providing material support to the banned LeT, and of conspiracy to provide material support to terrorism in connection with a foiled plot involving Danish newspaper Jyllands Posten.

He was, however, acquitted of charges that he aided the terrorists who carried out the 26/11 attacks in Mumbai.

Rana had appealed for a new trial in September last year citing that the jury was confused and that he did not get a fair trial.

According to documents released by the US District Court of the Northern District of Illinois, the federal government has argued that the court applied the correct legal standard, considering the totality of evidence.

The court correctly concluded that even considering Headley’s statements, probable cause existed, it said.

The government argues that the court particularly noted a September, 2009 conversation in which Rana and Headley discussed Denmark as a “target” and said there was significant evidence regarding the defendant’s knowledge and actions.

The court pointed to “at least four pieces of evidence in the affidavit (that) buttress this finding”.

In the instant motion, defendant argues that, at the time of defendant’s arrest, the government “only had knowledge regarding the activities of David Headley”.

The government lawyers said the record demonstrated otherwise.

In the government’s response to the motion, there was significant evidence regarding the defendant’s knowledge and actions.