Investigators in Lucknow have found that Tahawwur Hussain Rana, the suspected Lashkar-e-Toiba operative — and alleged accomplice of David Headley — and his wife Samraz Akhtar visited Meerut, Hapur and Agra in November 2008, reports Indian Express.
Rana is believed to have spent three weeks in India and left days before the Mumbai attacks.
The couple first visited Samraz's aunts Suraiya Bano in Meerut and Farzana Parvez in Hapur. Suraiya and Farzana are sisters of Samraz's mother Musharraf Jahan who is settled in Pakistan.
The couple then visited Agra, along with Farzana and her daughter Zoya Akbar, who is a school student, on November 14 and 15 last year, to see the Taj Mahal and stayed in the Manya Palace hotel.
Farzana's husband Akbar Ali, when contacted by The Indian Express, confirmed these visits.
He said that an officer from the National Investigation Agency had visited him and he had passed on whatever information he had.
“We could not believe that Rana could be involved in terror activities. When I met him, he told me that he runs an immigration business. I believe that if Rana was involved in such activities, then he would have not stayed in a cheap hotel at Agra where they paid Rs 400 for a room. I came to know that Rana was facing a financial crisis and, during the trip, it was my wife who took care of most of the expenses,” said Akbar Ali, who is an advocate.
Rana and his wife arrived at Delhi airport on November 13 where Suraiya's husband Saleem Ahmed received them and brought them to his home in Meerut. Akbar Ali was there in Meerut to welcome him. Later, in the evening, Akbar Ali brought the couple to Hapur in his car.
Next morning, the couple, along with Akbar Ali's wife and daughter, went to Agra in a hired taxi to see the Taj Mahal. “For some reason, they could not see the Taj Mahal that evening. They went to a hotel, Manya Palace, and stayed there at night. The next morning, all four left the hotel and went to see the Taj Mahal. My wife and daughter accompanied them to Delhi and took the same taxi to return to Hapur”, said Akbar Ali.
The hotel room was booked in the name of Zoya Akbar, sources said.
Akbar Ali said Rana used his Reliance cellphone while they were at his home and in Agra. “Rana's wife made a call to their children in Canada with my cellphone”, he said.
In Delhi, Farzana dropped Rana and his wife at a hotel in Karol Bagh before returning home, said Akbar Ali.
“This was the second time I met Rana after his marriage. Around 15 years ago, I had visited Pakistan and Rana was then a captain in the Pakistan military. Both Rana and his wife Samraz Akhtar were MBBS doctors. Rana's wife ran a clinic in Bahawalpur. Later, I got to know that two years after their marriage, Rana left his job and started some business,” said Akbar Ali.