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Embassy goof-up helped Ranas gain India entry

Posted by :) on November 23, 2009

Source : TNN and Agencies

New Delhi: The Indian consulate in Chicago goofed up badly in giving visas to Tahawwur Hussain Rana and his wife to visit India. Rana has been arrested by the FBI for plotting attacks in India.



The security lapse was discovered after an internal inquiry into the working of the Chicago consulate. The inquiry was promised by foreign minister S M Krishna after home ministry alleged that the consulate had slipped up badly.
The Pakistani-Canadian businessman, based in Chicago, was given a multiple-entry visa for a whole year and his wife, Samraz Rana Akhtar, a five-year multiple-entry visa by the Indian consulate in 2008. They visited Mumbai and several other cities in India before 26/11 last year. The visas were given at the discretion of the Indian consul general.
An internal inquiry has shown that the residential address provided in the visa applications by the Rana couple does not exist.
Moreover, an immigration services company where Rana claimed to have been employed told Indian authorities that he was never employed by them nor did they have a branch in Mumbai as stated by him, official sources said on Sunday. This flies in the face of the claim made by the consulate last week that it had done “due scrutiny” before issuing visas to Rana and his wife. Both the visas were issued “under the discretion of the consul general” and the home ministry maintained it was in violation of rules under which its clearance is required for any person born in Pakistan, Bangladesh or Iran. Rana was born in Chichawatni while his wife was born in Bahawalpur. Both the places are in Pakistan’s Punjab province. The two were exempted even from registering with the police if their stay did not exceed 180 days.
Senior government officials said there was a circular of 2004 under which the visa applications of people of Pakistan, Iran and Bangladesh origin was to be referred to the home ministry for clearance. But ambassadors have discretionary powers which were used in this case. Rana and his wife arrived in Mumbai on November 12 last year after which they travelled to Kochi on November 16.
Washington has conveyed that within a week there could be “authentic” information whether Headley and Rana were involved in the Mumbai attack Pak national believed to be a common link between LeT handlers like Zaki-ur Lakhvi and the duo. Probe to reveal whether Headley and Rana had any role Pak national believed to have been in Pakistan at the time of Mumbai carnage

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