The National Investigation Agency has finished the paperwork needed to question Tawwahur Rana, who was sentenced to a 14-year jail term for providing support to Pakistani terror outfit Lashkar-e-Tayiba.
The papers, which are necessary to obtain permission to question Rana, will be forwarded to the United States authorities only after Rana's former associate and 26/11 terror accused David Headley is sentenced on January 24.
When NIA officials request American authorities for the permission to question Rana, they will also seek time to interrogate Headley, say sources.
The NIA has already grilled Headley once.
The agency's paperwork about Rana took a long time. Though the initial paperwork was completed in September 2011, the NIA decided to gather more evidence to substantiate its plea.
Based on the information gleaned from the interrogation of David Headley, a chargesheet was filed and Rana was mentioned as a co-accused. Once again, the agency decided to wait till the completion of Rana's trial in Chicago. Much to its horror, the Pakistani-Canadian businessman was cleared of all charges by the court in connection to the 26/11 attack.
NIA officials believe that in spite of Rana'c conviction, it is important for an Indian agency to question him.
"We have to ascertain the allegations made against him by the US prosecution. Even if he is not directly connected to the 26/11 attack, we need to know details about his association with both Headley and Major Iqbal; both are wanted for the 26/11 attack.
Rana could also help us with details about the functioning of the Lashkar and its cadres who are a big threat to India," said one of them
He was quick to add that the NIA did not want Rana as one of the witnesses to build up its 26/11 case.
The NIA, which is determined to interrogate Rana, will try its best to push its case. The Indian foreign ministry may even send an official request to the United States State Department.
Earlier, US State Secretary Hillary Clinton had assured Indian authorities that she would try her best to facilitate India's request for access to Rana.