New Delhi: Raising many eyebrows in India, the US State Department has refused to comment on Tahawwur Hussain Rana’s confession in which he accepted providing "material support" to those who carried out the Mumbai terror attacks and that he was acting on the behest of the Pakistan government and its spy agency ISI.
Adding credence to the concerns about Washington’s stand on the explosive revelations, a US court has quashed the confession of the Pakistani-Canadian Rana.
Is America is trying to conceal the truth by “suppressing” the confession? If yes, why is it doing so? Especially when the US officially asks Pakistan to urgently bring perpetrators of 26/11 attacks to justice.
Rana in his defence said his "alleged illegal acts of providing material support to terrorists -- were done at the behest of the Pakistani government and the ISI, not the Lashkar terrorist organisation," according to court documents.
The documents have been published by Canadian newspaper Globe and Mail ahead of Rana`s trial that is set to begin on May 16.
They reveal that Rana in his defence, which was struck down by the Illinois court, said: "ISI has authority to act in India to protect Pakistan`s national interests."
Trying to invoke "Public Authority Defence" wherein a defendant tries to find shelter under the arguments that his acts were done at the behest of a government, Rana claimed he "acted under the authority -- whether actual or apparent-- of the Pakistani government and the ISI."
Rana also relied on the grand jury testimony of the co-accused LeT operative David Headley, likely to appear as witness against him, who claimed involvement of one Major Iqbal in funding the terror attacks.
"Therefore, he contends, he relied on a public authority, one that he argues is immune from criminal prosecution in US courts under the Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act FSIA)... when he engaged in activities such as allowing Headley to open a First World Immigration office in Mumbai," the order of Judge Harry D Leinenweber said.
The court rejected arguments put forth by Rana, saying his defence that "Pakistani Government and ISI officials sanctioned his violations of US Federal law is objectively unreasonable... Defendant acted not in Pakistan or India, but rather in United States."
"He cited no authority holding that a foreign government official can sanction an individual living and acting in the United States to violate US federal law," the court said.
The 49-year-old Rana is accused of helping David Headley in setting up his office in Mumbai which the latter used as cover for his trips to the city for identifying targets.
(With PTI inputs)