New Delhi: Underworld don Dawood Ibrahim, wanted for a number of heinous crimes including 1993 Mumbai serial blasts, had in 2013 offered to return to India and expressed willingness to face trial.
According to a report published in Indian Express, a Delhi-based lawyer, who is also a Congress leader, communicated to his party leadership that Dawood had offered to return to India.
When top officials of the erstwhile UPA government were contacted seeking confirmation of the news, they said that that Dawood's offer to return India was discussed at the highest level within the party and the government.
The lawyer, who is said to have discussed Dawood's offer with at least two senior Congress leaders, was told it was too much of a 'hot potato' and that the prospect of conducting a trial against India's most wanted on his terms was 'too risky'.
Officials also claimed that the offer was first conveyed to the Congress leadership and was later taken up for discussion in the Prime Minister's Office (PMO).
Former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and former National Security Advisor (NSA) Shivshankar Menon had also discussed about the offer made by Dawood.
Indian Express also claimed to have received an e-mail from Manmohan Singh on the issue stating, "I have no recollection of any discussion with any person regarding the return of underworld leader Dawood Ibrahim."
The lawyer was said to have been in touch with Dawood and his immediate family members.
During the sequence of events, it was also revealed that Dawood was suffering from a serious kidney ailment and was anxious to return to India to be with the rest of his family.
Dawood, who is believed to be hidden in Pakistan, is accused of masterminding the 1993 blasts in Mumbai in which over 250 people were killed.
Last month, a Sunday Guardian report had quoted US experts in counter-terrorism activities as saying that just the way al Qaeda chief Osama bin Laden was before his assassination, Dawood is hiding in plain sight and in comfort, shuttling between homes in Peshawar, Hyderabad (Sindh) and Lahore.