We couldn't have provided `5-star' facilities to Dawood: Pawar

Kolhapur, Jul 8: NCP President Sharad Pawar today justified his Government's decision to reject the conditional surrender offer made by underworld don Dawood 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.

"Dawood Ibrahim is facing charges in the Mumbai serial blasts in which hundreds of people lost their lives. With serious charges against him, was it appropriate to get Dawood to India and make five-star arrangements for his stay? Law is same for all," he said at a press conference here.

Dawood: Pawar justifies his decision

Pawar was asked why he, as Chief Minister of Maharashtra in 1990s, rejected the Dawood offer of surrender made through veteran lawyer Ram Jethmalani. According to Jethmalani, the gangster had offered to surrender provided he was kept in a house rather than a jail. Answering a range of questions at the press meet, Pawar reiterated his party's opposition to the Land Acquisition Bill.

"NCP will not support a law that allows the Government to take possession of farmland whenever or wherever it wants." The Maratha strongman sidestepped queries related to Union Minister Sushma Swaraj, Rajasthan Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje and former IPL chief Lalit Modi.

Talking about issues related to Maharashtra, Pawar said fissures have developed in ties between BJP, Shiv Sena and their other allies, and hence NCP should be ready in case there is early election in the State.

The former Union Agriculture Minister said the Rs 6,000 crore package announced by the BJP-led Government for sugarcane farmers and sugar industry was woefully inadequate. "Decisions taken by the BJP-led Government is causing immense harm to rural economy of Maharashtra."

Asked about his party colleague and former Minister Chhagan Bhujbal, facing probe for alleged corruption, Pawar said the Fadnavis Government should shun politics of revenge.

"The Government wants to enquire about many political people like Chhagan Bhujbal. But it should not indulge in politics of revenge. I suggest the BJP Government complete the probe as soon as possible and get back to real work."

Asked about the unsolved murder cases of rationalist Narendra Dabholkar and CPI leader Govind Pansare, Pawar expressed the hope that Maharashtra Police would soon arrest the culprits.


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