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Rana's attorneys deny claim of ISI-Pak govt's involvement in 26/11

Source: PTI
Last updated on: April 14, 2011 11:50 IST
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Two days after reports of Tahawwur Rana admitting to providing support to 26/11 terrorists at the behest of Pakistani government and the Inter-Services Intelligence, his attorneys on Thursday denied any "knowing involvement" of the Pakistani-Canadian in the attacks.

"Contrary to recent reports, Tahawwur Rana has neither admitted nor confessed to any knowing involvement in the tragic events in Mumbai of November 2008," his attorneys Patrick W Blegen and Charles D Swift said in a brief statement.

The clarification came following reports that Rana, accused in the Mumbai terror attack case, has claimed before a Chicago court that he provided "material support" to the terrorists at the behest of the Pakistan government and its spy agency ISI and not the terror group Lashkar-e-Tayiba.

"Rana maintains his position that he has never knowingly provided support to any terrorist organisation, designated or otherwise," the statement said. "Likewise, Rana's defence has not been undermined by the recent ruling granting the United States government's motion that Rana may not rely on the defence of public authority for any assistance that he might have provided to Pakistan's ISI," it said.

Forty-nine-year-old Rana is accused of helping LeT operative David Headley in setting up his office in Mumbai which the latter used as cover for his trips to the city for identifying targets. Rana's attorneys said, "The ISI was not and is not designated as a terrorist organisation. Indeed, the charges against Rana do not include providing material support to ISI."

His trial is scheduled to be held on May 16 and Headley is most likely to testify as a witness. On recent reports that India has asked for access to the terror suspect, Rana's defence indicated that they have not yet been contacted by Indian authorities.

Rana was indicted by a federal grand jury under 12 counts on February 15 last year for planning out the attacks, providing material support to the LeT to carry out the bombings, and guiding Headley in scouting targets in Mumbai in the process.

Headley, who was originally Daood Sayed Gilani, changed and anglicised his name in order to carry out the carnage without being caught. Rana, who had served as a doctor in the Pakistani Army Medical Corps, before he migrated to Canada, is also accused in plotting an attack with Headley on Danish newspaper Jyllands-Posten that published cartoons of the Prophet. If convicted, Rana faces a possible life sentence.

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