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Indian American doctor convicted in car bomb attack

By Arun Kumar, IANS,

Washington : An Indian American doctor in Arkansas has been found guilty of masterminding a car bomb attack on the head of the state’s medical board in February 2009.

A federal jury for Monday convicted Randeep Mann, 52, on seven counts, including using a weapon of mass destruction against a person and property, and using an explosive resulting in personal injury.

He will face up to life in prison when he is sentenced later, CNN said citing Cherith Beck, spokesperson for the US Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Arkansas. Court records show Mann’s trial began July 6.

Trent Pierce, a family practitioner, suffered serious injuries in the attack and lost an eye, but survived. He was leaving his home in West Memphis, Arkansas, headed to his clinic when a bomb went off as he approached his Lexus hybrid SUV.

The blast, heard a mile away, threw Pierce 6 feet into a flower bed.

Prosecutors acknowledged having no forensic evidence connecting Mann to the bomb scene or proving he planted the explosive – made from a hand grenade duct-taped to a spare tire – in Pierce’s driveway in West Memphis.

Still, prosecutors argued, there were links, including an e-mail Mann sent to his brother in India with the subject line “Pierce” and a photograph of the doctor, with the text, “I hope this picture is good.”

The bomb itself was made from a spare tyre from a 2002 Nissan Altima, and prosecutors said a friend and business partner of Randeep Mann’s had an Altima from which the spare was missing when federal agents executed a search warrant.

Early in the investigation, authorities focused on cases before the board, which oversees licensing of those in medical professions and can discipline professionals by suspending or revoking their licenses in some cases.

Jurors convicted Mann of possession of 98 unregistered grenades and two counts of possessing machine guns, but acquitted him of possessing an unregistered 12-gauge shotgun.

Mann’s wife, Sangeeta “Sue” Mann, was convicted of conspiring with her husband to conceal evidence and obstruct the investigation, Beck said. She will face up to 20 years in prison when she is sentenced.

US District Judge Brian Miller allowed Sue Mann to remain free on bond pending her sentencing. Her husband was ordered to remain behind bars.

(Arun Kumar can be contacted at [email protected])