LeT planned attacks on Somnath temple, Bollywood stars, Shiv Sena leaders

December 15th, 2009 - 10:13 am ICT by IANS  

By Arun Kumar
Washington, Dec 15 (IANS) Pakistan based terror outfit Lashkar-e-Taeba (LeT) was planning to carry out fresh Mumbai type attacks on the National Defence College (NDC) in New Delhi, Somnath temple in Gujarat and some Bollywood stars and Shiv Sena leaders in Mumbai, according to the FBI.

The three new possible Let targets besides NDC were revealed in fresh evidence filed in Chicago Federal court Monday against Tahawwur Hussain Rana, a Pakistan born Chicago businessman, who was arrested last month along with another Pakistani-American terror suspect David Coleman Headley for planning terror attacks in India and Denmark.

“In the September 7, 2009 conversation, Headley discussed four targets with Rana-Somnath (a temple in India ) and Denmark, Bollywood (a reference to the Indian film industry) and Shiv Sena (a political party with roots in Hindu nationalism),” the FBI said in a new 10-page affidavit.

“In his post-arrest statement, Rana falsely claimed that these were references to potential business ventures. It is difficult to imagine why a person who praises the work of a designated terrorist group that attacks India would look at an Indian temple or a Hindu nationalist party as a business venture,” the FBI noted.

“And it bears note that, as set out in the complaint, ‘business’ and ‘investments’ were code words used by Rana, David Coleman Headley, “Pasha” (a retired Pakistani Army Brigadier) and others to describe terrorist plots,” the FBI said.

Rana “discussed the National Defence College in India as a ‘target’” during a conversation on Sep 7, 2009 with Headley who added it to his list of previously discussed targets, saying “sorry not four, five”.

To this Rana responded, “Right, this is it, I knew already” further adding he “thought it is the target”. Prosecutors stated that Rana used the “English word target”.

According to the conversation, Headley explained that he “would ask LeT Member A to ‘do that first’ (attack the Defence College)” to which Rana responded affirmatively, “in this matter, do the defence”.

After Headley states that “we” would use LeT Member A to carry out the attack on the defence college, Rana again offered praise for Let Member A and LeT. “They should be really commended. I appreciate them from my heart”, Rana said according to prosecutors.

US prosecutors Monday opposed Rana’s release on bail saying he was a flight risk. His detention hearing is set to resume Tuesday before Magistrate Judge Nan Nolan in US District Court in Chicago.

Rana, a Canadian citizen had appeared in court on Dec 2 for his detention hearing but a decision to release him on bond

was postponed till Dec 15 by Nolan, who said she needed more time to review the evidence, including his statement to the FBI after his arrest in October on terror charges.

(Arun Kumar can be contacted at arun.kumar@ians.in)

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