Fourth case in New York naming ISI in Mumbai terror attacks

Fourth case in New York naming ISI in Mumbai terror attacks

Fourth case in New York naming ISI in Mumbai terror attacks

In the fourth such case, an American survivor of the 2008 Mumbai attacks has filed a lawsuit against ISI officials, including its chief Ahmed Shuja Pasha, along with leading LeT figures, charging the Pakistani spy agency of being involved in the planning and execution of the terror strike.

The case filed in New York city against the ISI chief by Linda Ragsdale on August 12 prompted the court to issue summons to the ISI and the officials named, following which it was decided to merge all the four cases in the city.

Kevin J Wash, of the Locke Lord Bissell and Liddell, represented ISI, and asked the court to consider the same response as submitted in the other three cases.

Besides Pasha, and other ISI officials, the case names Lashkar-e-Taiba leaders behind the Mumbai terror attacks -- Hafiz Mohammed Saeed, Zaki ur Rahman Lakhvi, Sajid Mir and Azam Cheema -- as the defendants.

A resident of Tennessee, Ragsdale was shot in her back by one of the LeT terrorist at the Oberoi Trident hotel in Mumbai. She, however, survived that attack.

"During the planning and execution of the Mumbai attack, defendants ISI, Pasha, (Nadeem) Taj, (Major) Iqbal and (Major Samir) Ali (as well as other officials, agents and employees of ISI) were extreme and outrageous.

"This extreme and outrageous conduct included, but was not limited to foreseeing that plaintiff Ragsdale would be irreparably traumatised when hostages at the Oberoi Trident Hotel, such as plaintiff Ragsdale, would be shot," said the complaint filed on behalf of Ragsdale.

Ragsdale seeks a compensation of a minimum of USD 75,000 from the ISI.

The complaint filed by eminent New York attorney, James P Kreindler, on behalf of Ragsdale has demanded a trial by jury. Kreindler is representing the American victims of 26/11 in the other three cases as well.

"On and prior to November 26, 2008, the ISI, Pasha, Taj, Iqbal and Ali (as well as other officials, agents and employees of the ISI) acted to advance the goals of LeT, Saeed, Lakhvi, Cheema and Majid to terrorise, kill and hurt, among others, United States citizens (which conducted violated, among other things, United States statues prohibiting international acts of terrorism) by aiding and abetting the planning and execution of the Mumbai attacks," the complaint said.

Soon after Ragsdale filed her complaint, US District Judge Dora L Irizarry in the Eastern District of New York issued summons to the ISI, LeT and others named in case.

Responding on behalf of ISI, Kevin J Wash, told that court that all the four cases be clubbed together. The other three cases are Rosenberg et al vs Lashkar-e-Taiba, Scherr vs Lashkar-e-Taiba and Chroman vs Lashkar-e-Taiba.

In a letter dated August 15, Wash said he represents ISI and its current Director General, Pasha, and its former chief, Nadeem Taj.

Attorneys of ISI and Ragsdale informed the court that they have agreed that all the four cases be clubbed together.

In her order dated August 18, Irizarry stipulated that all the four cases be clubbed together.

"However, defendants' request that the court consider the motion to dismiss as fully briefed in relation to the Ragsdale case is premature as defendants have not even appeared in the new case.

"The application is denied without prejudice to renew once the defendants have appeared in the Ragsdale matter," the court order said.

"Defendants are also advised that while common issues of law and/or fact might be raised on a motion to dismiss in the Ragsdale matter, plaintiff in that case would be entitled to determine whether or not it wishes to join in the opposition interposed by plaintiffs in the above-referenced earlier filed cases," Irizarry said.

The complaint says that the Mumbai terrorist attack was planned, trained for and carried out by members of LeT and ISI provided critical planning, material support, control and coordination of the attacks.

The complaint says that Chicago-resident, David Coleman Headley, who played a key role in the attack, did so at the direction and with material support of both LeT and the ISI.

"In September 2007 Headley communicated with LeT leaders and the ISI regarding his surveillance trips from Chicago to Mumbai. Headley provided LeT and the ISI with oral and video reports of his surveillance of the Mumbai sites and received instructions regarding further reconnaissance trips," the complaint said.

In March, April and July 2008, when Headley again travelled to Mumbai, he used a global positioning system device at the instruction of ISI and LeT.

"Prior to and following each trip to Mumbai, Headley reported to and received further instructions from both LeT, including defendant Majid and Defendant Iqbal and the ISI," the complaint added.

According to the complaint, in September 2008, the 10 LeT attackers were moved to Karachi and installed in a safe house and were closely monitored by Lakhvi and other LeT leaders.

The safe house, the complaint alleged, was part of ISI's 'Karachi Project', an initiative by which anti-India groups were tasked and/or supported by the ISI in a surreptitious fashion to engage in acts of international terrorism.

"The maritime training for the Mumbai terrorist attack took place in two boats, the al Husaini and the al Fouz, at least one of which was bought with funds provided by the ISI.

"During the period that Headley communicated with and took directions from the ISI regarding the Mumbai plot, defendant Taj, as ISI's Director-General, exerted full command and control over the ISI.

"During the final two months of training of the LeT attackers and throughout the attack, defendant Pasha exerted full command and control over the ISI," the complaint said.