After NCP chief Sharad Pawar accepted that the Congress government had in 1993 rejected Dawood Ibrahim's proposal to surrender due to his "unacceptable conditions", the most wanted man's close aide -- Chhota Shakeel -- has now said that the gangster-turned-terrorist only wanted a fair trial in the Mumbai blasts case.
"The conditions were simple. That we should get a fair trial, see if we are involved in it or not (Mumbai serial blasts), you run the case against us with honesty, punish us if we are guilty, but leave us if we are not," Shakeel told ABP News in an interview.
When asked about their demand for house arrest instead of jail, Shakeel said the government had pressed a "serious case" against Ibrahim and his aides and they did not want to be jailed on a "false case".
"First thing, there wasn't a case against us before 1993. In 1993, they clamped such a serious case on us (Mumbai serial blast case). We were deliberating on the issue, we wanted to appear, but you would conduct a trial and then send us to jail based on a false case," Shakeel said.
Even Ibrahim had denied the D-Company's role in the Mumbai 1993 serial bombings in his meeting with senior advocate Ram Jethmalani in London in the 1990s.
It was during this meet, Ibrahim proposed to surrender but only on two conditions – first, he would be kept under a house arrest and second, he would not be subjected to third-degree torture by the Indian authorities.
"I had a talk with Dawood Ibrahim himself. Dawood had said that he was not involved in any blast as was being said and that if he was given an assurance that he would not be ill-treated, he was ready to come to India and face the trial. I had in fact written to Sharad Pawar also," IBNLive quoted Jethmalani as saying.
However, both Pawar and the Centre rejected his proposal, Jethmalani said.
Pawar, who was then with the Congress and the chief minister of Maharashtra, confirmed receiving Ibrahim's proposal, which was rejected by the central government as the conditions for his return were "unacceptable".
"It is true that Ram Jethmalani had given the proposal about Dawood's willingness to surrender. But there was the condition that he should not be kept in jail. He wanted to remain in a house. This was not acceptable to us, we said he must face the law," IANS quoted Pawar as saying.
Now, years after the government rejected their proposal for surrender, the D-company boss and Shakeel are not willing to return to India.
"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 in a telephonic interview from Karachi on Friday.
Shakeel even dared Narendra Modi-led NDA government, which promised to bring back the Mumbai mafia don to India, to arrest him.
"Every time a new government comes, they make the first statement about us. Usko leke aayenge... ghus ke laayenge... Kya halwa hai? Bakri ka bachcha samajh ke rakha hai kya?..." he added.