The inclusion of underworld don and terror mastermind Dawood Ibrahim in an Indo-US joint statement for the first time was at the instance of Prime Minister Narendra Modi in consultations with national security adviser AK Doval, sources have told HT.
The statement released in Washington Tuesday after the PM’s meeting with US President Barack Obama talked about cooperation in fighting terror and criminal networks.
“India is likely to seek America’s help to secure Dawood’s extradition as the next step to the joint statement," an official told HT.
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Wanted in the 1993 Mumbai blasts that killed 250 people, Dawood is believed to be living in Pakistan under the patronage of the country’s dreaded spy agency the ISI.
“The leaders stressed the need for joint and concerted efforts, including the dismantling of safe havens for terrorist and criminal networks, to disrupt all financial and tactical support for networks such as al Qaeda, Lashkar-e-Taiba, Jaish-e-Mohammad, the D-company, and the Haqqanis,” the statement said. The D-company is a reference often used to describe India’s most wanted criminal’s widespread network of illegal activities.
Doval, who has stayed back in the US to discuss terrorism and security, is likely to bring up Dawood with his American counterparts.
As the head of the Intelligence Bureau, Doval worked hard to bring Dawood to justice and the agency had even taken the help of a rival gang headed by Chhota Rajan. Dawood is spoken of as the “Indian Osama bin Laden” in India’s intelligence and strategic circles.
“The mention of D-company in the statement was a well thought-out plan that had been actioned before Modi reached America," another official familiar with the development said. The US, which went along with India’s suggestion, had in 2003 named Dawood a global terrorist for his links with the Lashkar and al Qaeda. India, it is learnt, also shared with the US the proof of Dawood’s presence in Pakistan.
The extradition of the don, who was Tuesday declared a proclaimed offender by the Delhi high court in the IPL spot-fixing case, has been high on the PM’s agenda.
In an interview to a Gujarati news channel in the run-up to the Lok Sabha elections, Modi had said he would want to bring Dawood back to India if voted to power. Getting the US on board is being seen as a significant step. “We hope to be able to track his movements and get him to face trial in India," an official said.