Headley aide Rana visited Kochi before 26/11: Kerala Police
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Last Updated: Sunday, November 15, 2009, 19:44
Thiruvanathapuram: Tahawwur Hussain Rana, arrested along with suspected LeT terrorist David Coleman Headley of the US, had visited Kochi before the Mumbai terror strikes posing as an immigration consultant and was accompanied by a woman, Kerala Police said on Sunday.

Intelligence agencies and state police have come across evidences regarding Rana's visit. Rana, who arrived in Kochi on November 16, 2008, along with a woman called Samraz Akthar, had checked into a five-star hotel in the city and left for Mumbai the next afternoon, police sources said.

Besides confirming the hotel records, investigators had also found an advertisement that appeared in a newspaper stating that he would be in Kochi, New Delhi, Ahmedabad and Mumbai for offering visas to United States and Canada for job aspirants.

The advertisement claimed Rana was a Chicago-based emigration consultant.

"A man named Tahawwur Hussain Rana had stayed in a hotel in Kochi on November 16. We are checking the details," state Director General of Police Jacob Punnoose said.

State Home Minister Kodiyeri Balakrishnan said the police was examining if the person who had visited Kochi was the same Rana now under arrest in the United States.

Intelligence agencies were also looking into the angle whether the purpose of Rana's visit was to recruit youth for terrorist activities, the sources said.

The investigators were also verifying the mobile telephone numbers and e-mail address mentioned in the advertisement and also the persons he had contacted on arriving in the city, the sources said.

Headley, 49-year-old Pakistan-born US citizen, was arrested in Chicago last month by FBI which said he was part of a LeT plan to carry out terror attacks in India, including Delhi's National Defence College, Dehradun's Doon School and Woodstock in Mussoorie.

Officials of IB and RAW had visited the US last week and met FBI counterparts to get details of the plot but had failed to question Headley who is lodged in a Chicago jail.

Bureau Report

First Published: Sunday, November 15, 2009, 19:44

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