New Delhi: Senior advocate Ram Jethmalani on Saturday claimed to have met Dawood Ibrahim in London, where the underworld don had told him that he was willing to return to India.
Speaking to news agency ANI, Jethmalani rejected a newspaper report, which claimed that he had met Dawood's close associate Chhota Shakeel in London.
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.
However, Jethmalani said that saying no to Dawood's proposal wasn't only Pawar's decision, but the UPA government was also a part of it.
While recalling his encounter with the underworld don, Jethamalani said that Dawood was ready to return to India and be placed under house arrest during the trial, as he feared he would be bumped off in jail.
Jethamalani further said that Dawood told him that he was not involved in 1993 Mumbai serial blasts and wanted a guarantee from Indian authorities for his return that he will not be subjected to third-degree torture by the police during his detention.
The senior lawyer's claim comes after Dawood's trusted aide Chhota Shakeel in an interview to The Times of India, said that the underworld don had wished to return to India after the Mumbai blasts and had even spoken to Jethmalani in London, but the Indian government refused.
The newspaper reported that Shakeel had met Jethmalani in London and put forward Dawood's proposal for the Indian authorities.
The Narendra Modi-led government has repeatedly said that Dawood is in Pakistan and that India is determined to bring him back.
Pakistan has denied time and again the fugitive's presence on its soil.