Veteran Supreme Court lawyer Ram Jethmalani today claimed that he met underworld don Dawood Ibrahim in London and the 1993 Mumbai serial blast accused expressed his wish to return to India, albeit with some conditions.
“The senior Supreme Court lawyer maintained that Dawood had offered to surrender to Indian authorities, but the then Maharashtra chief minister Sharad Pawar had rejected the offer,” said a Zee News report. However, the senior lawyer rubbished reports published in the Times of India that he met with Dawood’s close associate Chhota Shakeel in London.
Shakeel in an exclusive interview to The Times of India also claimed that senior BJP leader LK Advani did not allow Dawood and himself to surrender.
“When we wanted to come back after 1993, you people, your government didn’t allow. Bhai had himself spoken that time to Ram Jethmalani, that too in London… baat ho gayi thi… But your ministry… that Advani played the game,” Shakeel told the Times of India over phone from Karachi on Friday.
Jethmalani claimed that Dawood feared returning to India because he wasn’t ready to languish in prison and instead sought house arrest. The underworld fugitive’s demand included that he won’t be subjected to any third-degree torture if he surrenders at all.
Dawood is at present on the wanted list of Interpol for cheating, criminal conspiracy and running an organised crime syndicate. The Indian security agencies are also looking out for him for alleged spot fixing crimes during the Indian Premier League. “The CBI had alleged that Dawood Ibrahim conspired with ISI to carry out serial blasts in Mumbai in March 1993 in which 257 people were killed and property worth Rs 32 crore damaged,” a CNN-IBN report said.
The claims made by Shakeel have also taken a political colour with the BJP regime blaming the Congress-led UPA government of inaction in trying to get Dawood back into India and put him under trial. The BJP government at the Centre has repeatedly claimed that Dawood has been staying in Pakistan for all these years.
“Ram Jethmalani clearly said that he gave information in writing, despite that Congress didn’t take any initiative. Congress and NCP should say why action was not taken at that time,” BJP spokesperson GVL Narasimha Rao told CNN-IBN.
In his no-holds barred interview to TOI, Shakeel ironically also blamed the Indian security agencies of bias as another gangster Chhota Rajan has been allegedly roaming freely while the sleuths have been continuously trying to build pressure of Dawood. He said that Rajan is no Hindu patriot don as the media has made him out to be but in fact a killer who has killed many Hindus for money.
Shakeel unabashedly also admitted that Dawood’s men are looking to assassinate Rajan and almost succeeded in Australia. “He (Rajan) ran away like a mouse,” Shakeel told Times of India.