Foreign Office spokesperson refutes Shinde charge

A day after Indian Home Minister Sushilkumar Shinde said Dawood Ibrahim, designated a global terrorist by the U.S. Treasury department was in Pakistan, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokesperson has denied this.

Asked for a clarification, spokesperson Tasnim Aslam told The Hindu on the phone on Saturday that it was just an allegation. “We have repeatedly told India that he is not in Pakistan,” she said.

Mr. Shinde told the media in New Delhi that joint efforts were being made with the U.S. to nab Dawood. Asked if the U.S. had pursued the matter with Pakistan, Ms. Aslam said there was no information from the United States on this issue.

In the past too senior government functionaries have denied that Dawood lives in Pakistan where he is believed to own some property.

The gangster, who once operated out of Mumbai, is wanted in a number of cases in India, chiefly the masterminding of the March 12, 1993 serial blasts in the city which killed 267 people. India has been saying that they will bring back all the terrorists and in the past has arrested Abu Jundal for his involvement in the November 26, 2008 terror strike and some others.

In 2003 the U.S. Treasury Department had announced that it was designating Dawood as a Specially Designated Global Terrorist and it had requested that the United Nations list him as well. All the assets belonging to Ibrahim within the U.S. were frozen and the order also prohibits transactions with U.S. nationals. The U.N. listing will require that all UN Member States take similar actions.

The Treasury Department in a statement had said that Dawood, an Indian crime lord, has found common cause with Al Qaeda, sharing his smuggling routes with the terror syndicate and funding attacks by Islamic extremists aimed at destabilising the Indian government. He is wanted in India for the 1993 Bombay Stock Exchange bombings and is known to have financed the activities of the Lashkar-e-Toiba , a group designated by the United States in October 2001 and banned by the Pakistani Government — who also froze its assets — in January 2002.