Monday, November 16, 2009

Rana visited Kochi before 26/11: Kerala Police

Probe into Headley-Rana terror case reveals presence of woman

Did Tahawwur Rana, an associate of American terror suspect David Coleman Headley, travel to Kochi with his wife? Investigations into the visits of the two terror suspects have led sleuths to know about the presence of a woman who claims to be the wife of the latter and had visited India along with him, official sources said.

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 told PTI.

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.

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