Dawood willing to face trial – but only if lodged in Arthur Road jail

Dawood Ibrahim, India's most wanted fugitive, is willing to come back to the country, but only if the authorities are prepared to ensure that he is lodged in the high-security precincts of Arthur Road Central Jail in Mumbai and nowhere else during the trial period.

Lawyer Shyam Keswani, representing Dawood's brother Ibrahim Kaskar, told this to a court in Thane and to media outside the court.

Kaskar was produced in the court of chief judicial magistrate R V Thamadekar on Tuesday by Thane police for extension of his custody in an extortion case.

''He had also conveyed his intentions through (former union minister and top lawyer) Ram Jethmalani a few years ago but the Indian government has not entertained any of his preconditions to return,'' Kesvani said.

In a sharp reaction to the statement, public prosecutor Ujjawal Nikam said, ''It's Dawood Ibrahim's old style. Beggars have no choice. Who informed his lawyer that he wants to surrender? If he's in contact with him our agencies must find about it. It's nonsense.''

Kaskar was produced in the court of chief judicial magistrate RV Thamadekar on Tuesday by Thane police for extension of his custody in an extortion case. It is believed that Dawood has handed over the reins of his 'D-Company' to his brother.

Last year, reports said that Dawood was suffering from bouts of depression after his third child and only son Moin Nawaz D. Kaskar, 31, turned his back on the "family business" and is now a devout Muslim who has chosen to become a 'maulana', or a cleric and religious teacher.

Moin's main religious activities comprise teaching the Quran and Islamic teachings to young children, leading the call of prayers and congregation of 'namaz' at various occasions and other social-religious responsibilities associated with a cleric.

Dawood's other brother Anees Ibrahim Kaskar is ageing and reportedly not in robust health. Other brothers are deceased and no reliable close relatives available to take over the reins of the empire.

Earlier, Iqbal Kaskar had revealed that Dawood is in good health and living in Karachi under the protection of Pakistani agencies, dismissing all speculation on his physical well-being that keeps floating occasionally.

Kaskar was sent to police custody till Friday by the court 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.