Rana visa case gets curiouser

Rana visa case gets curiouser

 Tahawwur RanaBoth Rana and his wife Samraz Rana had been issued multi-entry visas by the Consulate with the visa stamp clearly stating that this had been issued in the "discretion of the CG" (Consul General).

David Headley, born to a Pakistani father, was also issued a five-year multi-entry business visa in July 2007. Under the visas, Headley and Ranas were also exempted from police reporting if their stay was less than 180 days at a single stretch.
However, responding to questions emailed by PTI, the Consulate said that "the question of discretion does not arise".

Contrary to a Ministry of Home Affairs circular in 2004, the Consulate claimed that no prior clearance of the Ministry was required in issuing visa in the cases of citizens of Pakistan origin and that the question of using "discretion" does not arise.
Consular (visa) in the Mission Vishvas Sapkal said that the Consulate did not know 48-year-old Pakistani-born businessman before issuance of visa. More PTI SKL VSC SDG 12061252
"As per the MHA circular of 2005, no prior clearance of MHA is required in such cases (people of Pakistani origin) and hence the question of using discretion does not arise," Sapkal said in reply to a question whether the Consulate knew Rana before issuing the visa whereby the Consul General has used his discretionary quota.

When the controversy had broken out, top Home Ministry officials had clarified that all visa applications of citizens of Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan or those having their origin in these countries need to be cleared by the Union Home Ministry.

The Consulate also admitted to sending a letter to the Ministry of External Affairs in which it had informed the Government that the "Immigrant Law Centre", whose letters were attached by Rana to get a visa, had denied links with the terror suspect.
The Consulate chose to bank on media reports in Washington to establish links between the company headed by Raymond Sanders and Rana.
Sapkal also said that calls were made by the Mission to the residential address provided by Rana in Chicago and "nobody answered the residence phone number".
"Office (Immigrant Law Centre) also denied links with him. This is understood as the denial comes in the aftermath of arrests," Sapkal said, adding "the Indian investigation agencies are investigating the matter further."

This contrasts the claim made by the Consulate last month that it had done "due scrutiny" before issuing visas to Rana and his wife.

While Rana had been given a multi-entry visa for a period of one year, his spouse was given a five-year multiple-entry visa by the Consulate last year which enabled them to visit Mumbai and several other places in India days before the 26/11 terror strikes in the financial capital of the country.

Rana was born in Chichawatni while his wife was born in Bahawalpur. Both the places are in Pakistan's Punjab province.

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