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'Rana seeks another hearing citing omissions'

July 27, 2011 00:39 IST

Tahawwur Rana, who was found guilty of providing support to Pakistan-based terror group Lashkar-e-Tayiba, had cited omission of crucial exculpatory evidence in his case to seek a fresh hearing, recently unsealed court documents have revealed.

Rana was accused with LeT operative David Headley of plotting attacks in Denmark and Mumbai, and was held guilty by a court in Chicago last month for providing material support to Lashkar-e-Tayiba.

But, fresh documents show that the search warrant affidavit in which evidence incriminated him, omitted Headley's statements to FBI in which he repeatedly told the agency that Rana was unaware of his terrorist activities.

The Canadian-American, through his attorney Patrick W Blegen, had requested Judge Harry D Leinenweber to conduct a 'Franks hearing' in which the statements made by police officers in the affidavit that was used to obtain a search warrant for his properties are false and constitute perjury or reckless disregard for truth.

Rana's house, according to the argument, was not searched based on truthful evidence.

Because of the omissions, the magistrate judge reviewing the affidavit was left entirely unaware of evidence exculpating Rana.

Moreover, the government's own qualms about Headley's credibility were also hidden, the documents say.

By omitting all references to Headley's exculpatory statements regarding 50-year-old Rana, the affidavit denied him the protection of a neutral magistrate's determination whether, as a whole, the evidence was sufficient to amount to probable cause.

"Wherefore, defendant requests that the court conduct a Franks hearing and then enter its order suppressing as evidence in this, or any other criminal proceeding, any and all evidence, or fruits derived there from, obtained as a result of the search of defendant's home and businesses," the documents signed by Rana's attorney Patrick Blegen stated.

Himani Kumar in Chicago