India has expressed disappointment with a U.S. court ruling that cleared a Pakistani-born Canadian national of charges of helping to plan the deadly 2008 terror attacks in Mumbai.
India is pressing ahead with its own investigations against Tahawwur Rana.
The trial of the 50-year-old businessman was conducted in a Chicago court and was closely followed in India.
Rana was found guilty of providing support to the Pakistan-based militant group Lashkar-e-Taiba and of involvement in a plot to attack a Danish newspaper that published cartoons of Prophet Muhammad.
But the jury returned a verdict of “not guilty” for the charge that concerns India - involvement in the terror attacks in Mumbai in 2008.
Rana had been accused of helping David Coleman Headley, a Pakistani-American, scout targets in India’s financial hub before the terror strikes. Headley had said he used Rana’s immigration firm as a cover when he traveled to India.
Home Ministry Secretary for Internal Security, U.K. Bansal said the acquittal came despite evidence produced to substantiate charges relating to the Mumbai attacks.
“We are therefore disappointed that Rana was acquitted on counts of conspiracy to provide material support to the Mumbai terrorist attack. However it may be remembered that Rana was tried in a U.S. court in accordance with the U.S. law,” he said.
In a statement, the Home Ministry said that Indian agencies investigating charges against Rana were waiting for proceedings in the U.S. court to conclude.
Bansal says authorities now hope to get documents and other evidence from the United States. He says the National Investigation Agency, or NIA, will then decide whether to pursue the case in India.
“After examining the verdict in the U.S. court and after reviewing the documents, and evidence that it expects to receive, NIA will take a decision on filing a charge sheet against Headley, Rana and others in an Indian court,” noted Bansal.
India was hoping the trials of Rana and Headley will uncover links between the Mumbai terror attacks and Pakistan’s intelligence agency, the ISI.
New Delhi has accused the Pakistan-based Islamic militant group, Lashkar-e-Taiba, of carrying out the attacks.
In testimony last month, Headley, who has already pleaded guilty of terrorism charges, said Lashkar-e-Taiba had received help from Pakistani intelligence.