Ex-PM Rao backed Da­wood sur­ren­der re­jec­tion: Pawar

Hindustan Times ST (Mumbai) - HT Navi Mumbai Live - - FRONT PAGE - DK Singh deepak.singh1@hin­dus­tan­times.com

NEW DELHI: For­mer Ma­ha­rash­tra chief min­is­ter Sharad Pawar has said the then Prime Min­is­ter Narasimha Rao backed his de­ci­sion to re­ject 1993 Mum­bai blasts mas­ter­mind Da­wood Ibrahim’s con­di­tional of­fer of sur­ren­der, a state­ment that comes at a time when au­thor­i­ties are making fresh ef­forts to catch the fugi­tive gang­ster.

In his mem­oir, “On My Terms: From the Grass­roots to the Cor­ri­dors of Power”, the for­mer Union min­is­ter also claims that the Pak­istani mil­i­tary had in­structed their col­lab­o­ra­tors in Mum­bai to “elim­i­nate” him be­cause of his suc­cess in pre­vent­ing communal ri­ots in the city fol­low­ing the deadly bomb­ings that killed over 350 peo­ple.

Two days af­ter the blasts, Rao called up Pawar, who was chief min­is­ter at the time, and ad­vised him to up­grade his per­sonal se­cu­rity as the In­tel­li­gence Bureau (IB) had in­ter­cepted con­ver­sa­tions in which a Pak­istani de­fence of­fi­cer was in­struct­ing a hench­man in Mum­bai to kill him, the NCP chief says.

Pawar has also pointed fin­gers at the Congress “First Fam­ily” for in­sti­gat­ing a sec­tion of party men to speak up against him, thick­en­ing the “cloud of sus­pi­cion” about his links with the un­der­world king­pin, In­dia’s most-wanted man, who is be­lieved to be hid­ing in Pak­istan.

Congress spokesper­sons re­fused to com­ment on the charges.

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