Under attack over its statement in Parliament that it was not aware about Dawood Ibrahim’s whereabouts, the government today asserted that the Mumbai blast mastermind is in Pakistan and it will do everything to bring him to justice.
“Whether we have to pursue Pakistan or pressurise it, we will not rest till Dawood Ibrahim is brought back,” Home Minister Rajnath Singh said in Lok Sabha and averred that India has maintained pressure on Pakistan at all levels over the issue.
He alleged that Pakistan has “failed” to track him down despite being provided with “overwhelming evidence” about his presence there, based on “credible information”.
Singh’s assertion came amid Opposition attack over a Home Ministry’s reply to a question in Lok Sabha last week that it was not aware about the gangster’s location.
He had then sought to deflect the criticism, saying the stand was similar to the one taken by the UPA government in Parliament in May 2013 and signalled a rethink. He had said he will make a statement in Parliament today.
In the statement, Singh said, “India has credible information about his presence in Pakistan… Despite the neighbouring country being handed over overwhelming documentary and other evidence, it has to locate him and initiate legal process.”
India has provided Pakistan the details of his Pakistani passports and reported addresses there from time to time, asking it to locate and hand him over to it.
Noting that a red-corner notice issued by Interpol was pending against Dawood since 1996 and a UN Security Council’s special notice against him was also pending since 2006, the Home Minister said Pakistan was bound by international obligations to locate and extradite him.
The Home Minister said, “India continues to pressurise Pakistan to fulfil its international obligations and locate Dawood Ibrahim and other terrorists and hand them over to India.”
A row had erupted following a written reply by Minister of State for Home Affairs Haribhai Parthibhai Chaudhary to a question in Lok Sabha, saying the government was not aware about Dawood’s whereabouts, which had triggered a sharp opposition attack on the Narendra Modi government last week.
Jyotiraditya Scindia (Cong) in Congress had accused the Modi dispensation of doing a sudden “U-turn” in the matter in spite of the fact that Dawood continued to be the most wanted fugitive after the 1993 Mumbai blasts.
The Congress Chief Whip said Pakistan was cocking a snook at India in the wake of the U-turn by NDA Government. He recalled that during the election campaign, Prime Minister Narendra Modi used to say that India will pursue Dawood inside Pakistan like the US targetted Osama Bin Laden there.
The government later went into a damage-control mode with Singh telling Parliament that the reply was the same that was given on May 7, 2013 when the UPA was in power.
The name of Dawood, who is wanted in connection with 1993 Mumbai serial blasts, figures in almost all the dossiers that have been handed over to Pakistan since the NDA rule in early 2000.
Dawood, who has been listed as Specially Designated Global Terrorist by the United States for his alleged links with al Qaeda terror group, vanished from Mumbai between 1992-93.
The CBI has alleged that he conspired with the ISI to carry out the serial blasts in Mumbai in which 257 people were killed and property worth Rs 32 crore damaged.