THANE: Well-known criminal lawyer Shyam Keswani on Tuesday said fugitive mafia don Dawood Ibrahim Kaskar is reportedly "keen to return to India" but with certain preconditions which are not acceptable to the Indian government.
Speaking to the media outside the Thane Court, where he represented Iqbal Ibrahim Kaskar (the absconder don's brother) in an extortion case, the lawyer said among the conditions Dawood has stipulated are that he should be lodged only in the high-secure precincts of Arthur Road Central Jail (ARCJ) in Mumbai.
"He had also conveyed his intentions through (former union minister and eminent lawyer) Ram Jethmalani a few years ago but the Indian government has not entertained any of his preconditions to return," Keswani said.
The ARCJ is the same prison where the Pakistani terrorist Ajmal Kasab was lodged for nearly four years till his hanging for his role in the 2008 Mumbai terror attack.
Keswani's statement on Dawood's desire to return came more than six months after Maharashtra Navnirman Sena President Raj Thackeray made a similar revelation in Mumbai.
In his explosive remarks, Thackeray had claimed that not only was Dawood keen to come back but he was reportedly negotiating a 'settlement' with the Modi government.
The MNS chief further said Dawood was very sick and wanted to breathe his last in India.
In a related development, Iqbal was sent to police custody till Friday by a Special Court here on Tuesday in a land-grab and extortion case filed against him by the Thane Anti-Extortion Cell (AEC).
At least two others wanted in this case - Bhavar Kothar and Bharat Jain -- are absconding, said AEC chief Pradeep Sharma.
Opposing the police custody of Iqbal, currently in judicial custody for other cases, Keswani said it was puzzling when the crime was committed since his client (Iqbal) has been in police and judicial custody in Thane since his arrest on September 19 from Mumbai.
This is the same case in which, for the first time, the police have shown the three Kaskar siblings - Dawood, Anees (both absconding) and Iqbal - as accused.
The case pertains to alleged extortion of Rs 3 crore from a builder in a deal involving a 38-acre plot of land worth crores of rupees in Gorai, a coastal village in south-west Thane.