The trial against Tahawwur Rana, co-accused in the 2008 Mumbai terror attacks, is expected to be a high drama affair. The trial, which will commence on May 16, will be aided by Rana's confession, which was made before the Chicago court.
The confession itself is interesting; where Rana goes on to place the entire blame for the 26/11 fiasco on the Inter-Services Intelligence and the Pakistani establishment. Interestingly, there is no blame on Lashkar-e-Tayiba which finally staged the attack.
The court had however rejected this confession on the April 1, stating that the defence was objectively unreasonable. However, when the trial commences, Rana's legal team will have a lot more to do in order to prove the allegations.
However, Indian officials are all smiles with this development, and say that their stand has been vindicated. Rana goes on to state in his confession that the entire attack was done at the behest of the Pakistani government and the ISI, and not at the behest of LeT.
Apart from proving these allegations, he will also have to explain why he had provided material and documents to Headley in order to enter India. Rana, who is the proprietor of the First World Immigration Services in Chicago, had helped Headley with documents which in turn helped him pose as an immigration consultant from the United States.
Rana's stand is an interesting one. Despite the entire world stating that the attack was carried out by LeT, he only sticks to the role played by the Pakistani government and the ISI. Rana's statement to this effect, clears one part of the doubt since he himself goes on to say that he considers himself to be a Pakistani patriot and the ISI had sought his help.
Since he had done work for the establishment, he should be entitled for diplomatic immunity. Another interesting aspect to this confession is that this comes in the backdrop of stressed times between the ISI and the Central Intelligence Agency.
The biggest problem is however for Pakistan, since Rana's statements threaten to blow away all claims that the country has been making, denying any involvement in the 26/11Mumbai attack. Moreover, it would also justify Headley's statements regarding of Pakistan's involvement in the attack.
Although Headley's statements were more guarded in this regard, Rana has been more direct and open about this aspect.
This trial which will include both Headley and Rana will be watched closely by National Investigating Agency, which is probing this case now. The statements by both these accused will help the NIA coordinate and corroborate their case better, which in turn would help them file a fool proof chargesheet.
Headley during his testimony before the grand jury had said that he had managed to enter India under a false flag in order to survey targets for the attack.
"I had told Rana about my assignment and explained to him that the immigration office would provide a cover story for why I was in India. I had also shared with Rana that I had been asked to work for the ISI," he said.
Rana would now have to explain in detail about his links with the ISI, the Pakistan government and also Headley, once the trial commences. The trial is expected to be completed within a month.NIA sources say that they would interrogate Rana once the trial is complete, and a formal request would be sent in this regard to the US at that point in time.