As per a report published in The Indian Express, a Delhi-based lawyer, who is also a Congress leader, communicated to his party leadership that underworld fugitive Dawood Ibrahim was ready to "return" to India.
"Confirming this, top officials of the former UPA government said the "offer to return" was discussed at the "highest level" within the party and the government - two decades after Dawood first expressed his "willingness" to face trial in India, months after the 1993 Mumbai serial blasts", the news daily further added.
The report further added that the then PM Dr Manmohan Singh and ex-national security advisor Shivshankar Menon held hectic consultations on possibility of Dawood's return.
While responding to the daily's queries on the issue, the ex-PM in an email response told the daily, "I have no recollection of any discussion with any person regarding the return of underworld leader Dawood Ibrahim."
Meanwhile, former Home Minister Sushil Kumar Shinde too denied such reports saying he never came across any such information.
"When I was the HM, we had no information from any source or any agency," Shinde told ANI.
The lawyer, who discussed Dawood's "offer" with at least two senior Congress leaders, was told it was too much of a "hot potato" and that the prospect of conducting a trial against India's most wanted on his terms was too risky.
As per the news daily, the sequence of events and circumstances leading to the "offer" in 2013 revealed that Dawood was suffering from a serious kidney ailment and was anxious to return to India to be with the rest of his family.
After the 1993 Mumbai Blasts, the underworld don on November 01, 1993 had filed a plea asking the Supreme Court to shift the blasts cases from Mumbai to Delhi. However, the petition was never filed.
In his petition Dawood had also criticised the role of Mumbai Police and accused some vested interests of trying to implicate him in the blasts case.
Earlier last month, NCP chief and former Maharashtra CM Sharad Pawar said senior advocate Ram Jethmalani had contacted him over underworld don Dawood's willingness to surrender but conditions put forward for it were not acceptable to the state government. The offer was made during Pawar's tenure as Chief Minister in 1990s.
Pawar justified his Government's decision to reject the conditional surrender offer made by Ibrahim, saying the fugitive could not be provided "five-star" facilities as he was responsible for the death of innocent people in the 1993 serial blasts.