The Union government made two contradicting statements on the whereabouts of Dawood Ibrahim on Tuesday.
In the Parliament’s morning session, the Union home ministry made a shocking remark by stating it was not aware of the location of the underworld don, which itself was contradictory to its earlier stand. Hours later, the government made another U-turn with junior Home Minister Kiren Rijiju saying Dawood lives in Pakistan.
The government said in the Parliament that it was not aware of the location of Dawood whose deportation from Pakistan it has been demanding.
“The subject has not been located so far. Extradition process with regard to Dawood Ibrahim would be initiated once the subject is located,” Minister of State for Home Haribhai Parathibhai Chaudhary said while replying to a written question of BJP MP Nityanand Rai.
The written reply referred to Dawood an accused in the Mumbai serial blasts of 1993 and noted that a Red Corner Notice was in existence against him.
“The United Nations Security Council has also issued a special notice against him,” he said.
As media carried news on the question, a red faced government prepared to issue a clarification in Lok Sabha on Wednesday. Government sources said Chaudhary held a meeting with Union Home Secretary L C Goyal where they discussed the modalities of briefing Parliament tomorrow.
Officials sought to blame bureaucratic goof up for the reply. They claimed that the Home Ministry prepared the reply in consultation with External Affairs ministry.
Interestingly, the government has been maintaining for a long time that Dawood is living in Pakistan with the patronage of Pakistani security establishment.
India had handed over to Pakistan several dossiers on Dawood, India’s most wanted fugitive, giving details about his locations in Pakistan.
On December 27, 2014, Home Minister Rajnath Singh had said in Lucknow that Dawood is India’s most wanted terrorist and that New Delhi has repeatedly asked Pakistan to hand him over to it.
On the same day, Minister of State for Home Rijiju said that India had asked Pakistan to hand over Dawood as enough evidence had been given to it on the prime accused in the 1993 Mumbai serial blasts case.
He said Dawood lives in Pakistan and the Centre would continue to pursue the case very seriously.
“Government’s consistent stand is that he (Dawood) is in Pakistan and government of India has been providing information to Pakistan about his whereabouts and Pakistani agencies are not cooperating with Indian government. That is well known to everyone,” he told reporters outside Parliament.
The minister said he could not say about the clarification to be given by the government in Parliament but requested everyone not to misconstrue a statement which is based on specific questions.
“So, if necessary, clarifications will be given but what I want to say is that please don’t question the intention of the government, the government is very clear and government’s job is well defined and it is pursuing the case very seriously,” he said.
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 as Specially Designated Global Terrorist by the United States for his alleged links with Al-Qaeda terror groups, vanished from Mumbai between 1992-93 and settled in a Gulf country.
The CBI has alleged that he conspired with ISI to carry out serial blasts in Mumbai in which 257 people were killed and property worth Rs 32 crore damaged.
In November, the Home Minister had said here that Dawood was then staying at the Afghanistan-Pak border.