Met Dawood Ibrahim in London, he offered return: Indian lawyer

  • Jethmalani says proposal was rejected by Sharad Pawar-led Maharashtra and UPA governments
  • Says Dawood had denied involvement in the 1993 Mumbai serial blasts and wanted assurance from Indian authorities against torture

A senior lawyer of India’s Supreme Court Ram Jethmalani has claimed to have met Dawood Ibrahim in London, where the fugitive underworld don offered to surrender himself and his close associate Chota Shakeel before Indian authorities.

In an interview to the ANI news agency published on Zee News channel’s website, the senior lawyer said the proposal was rejected by the Sharad Pawar-led Maharashtra state government. He added that it was not the chief minister’s decision alone, but the United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government was also a part of it.

Giving details of his meeting with Dawood Ibrahim, Jethmalani said that the underworld don had denied involvement in the 1993 Mumbai serial blasts and wanted assurance from Indian authorities that upon his return he will not be subjected to third-degree torture by the police while in detention.

The former law minister also said that the underworld don was ready to return to India and be placed under house arrest during the trial, as he feared he would be assassinated in jail.

In a Press Trust on Indian interview published on the NDTV website, Saharad Pawar, who was the chief minister of Maharashtra state in 1990s when the offer was made, said that, “It is true that Ram Jethmalani had given a proposal about Dawood’s willingness to return. But there was a condition that Dawood should not be kept in jail. Rather he should be allowed to remain in a house. This was not acceptable. We said he had to face the law.”

India has routinely accused Pakistan of providing shelter to one of India’s most wanted fugitive.

Pakistan denies Indian charges that it shelters Dawood Ibrahim — one of India’s most wanted men — ever since the don became a fugitive for his alleged role in the serial bomb blasts that hit Mumbai in 1993 in apparent retaliation for the demolition of the Babri Masjid in December 1992. Over 250 people were killed in the attacks.

Ibrahim stands convicted in absentia in India for the blasts, together with several Mumbai accomplices.

In a reply submitted to the Indian Parliament recently in May, India’s Home Ministry had said that the government had no clue about the whereabouts of underworld don Dawood Ibrahim.

Pakistan’s High Commissioner in India Abdul Basit had termed the admission as vindication of Pakistan’s stance over the issue.

A few days later Indian Home Minister Rajnath Singh had said in the Lok Sabha that India had evidence of Dawood Ibrahim’s presence in Pakistan, and would bring him back “no matter what”.