At a rally in Akola, Maharashtra, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said it would soon become clear, who helped the perpetrators of the 1993 Mumbai blasts get away.

After the blasts, the key accused in the blasts, Dawood Ibrahim, Tiger Memon and others managed to slip away and till date remain elusive. It may be re-called that the opposition in Maharashtra had accused the Sharad Pawar led government of being hand in glove with the underworld. The charge was however denied by Pawar.

A new chapter will reveal who helped these terrorists get way, the PM also added during his address.

How did Dawood get away?

While speaking to a number of officers in the intelligence agencies, both former and serving, one gets the impression that successive governments were never interested in getting the don to book. There were at least six operations that were launched to bring back the elusive don/terrorist, but they were dropped at the last minute, owing to interference of the government.

15 months after the blast, the agencies were hot on the heels of Dawood. The don was jittery at that time and had sought to surrender. He spoke several times with then CBI DIG Neeraj Kumar and late senior advocate Ram Jethmalani. Dawood had conditions, but the CBI was told not to pursue the same. Kumar went on to say that the negotiations were stopped abruptly as the government was not agreeable to the conditions.

Also read: Dawood-NCP link out, document reveals Praful Patel's signature

With the negotiations being stopped, the agencies decided to execute him in Karachi. The year was 1994 and a plan was hatched by the Research and Analysis Wing to kill Dawood at Karachi. Four trained assassins were assigned to the job. A return plan was worked out and the agents had been sent to Karachi through Nepal. However, at the last minute, the then Congress government ordered that the plan be put on hold.

Our agents never gave up:

In 1994, a plan was devised to force land a Dawood aircraft in Mumbai. The intelligence had picked up information that Dawood would be flying to Jeddah in a special aircraft. It was decided to deploy Air Force jets to ensure a force landing in Mumbai once the special aircraft left Pakistan airspace. The same Congress led government at the Centre, felt it was too risky, following which the mission was aborted. An officer who was associated with the operation but did not want to be named in this report said that the agents were ready. All it required was a go-ahead. However, after all the meticulous planning, the government decided to call off the mission.

After so many setbacks, the agencies planned another operation in 2013. The operation was known as Super Boys Covert Mission. The Research and Analysis Wing picked up 9 agents and trained them to carry out a hit on Dawood. The Super Boys were dispatched, and they kept a close watch on Dawood. It was decided to execute him near a Dargah at Karachi. However, a mystery call from New Delhi ensured that the mission had to be aborted and the Super Boys had to return.

Another 1994 mess up:

Dawood and his brother were setting up their business in South Africa. They visited South Africa very often and had 18 different passports. Dawood realised that Mandrax was a huge draw in South Africa and he was establishing routes and modules out there.

It was in that year, V Balachandran, former special secretary, Cabinet Secretariat had visited South Africa to chalk out plans in relation with a Nelson Mandela visit. He tells MyNation that during his visit, he was shown 18 different passports of Dawood. He was told that Dawood had expanded his business and had made South Africa a landing base for the Mandrax meant to be supplied to Europe and America.

Balachandran was told that the South Africans needed help about information on Dawood. “They had asked me for information on his advance movements, so that he could be nabbed. I told them that I would get clearance from Delhi. I prepared a report and even said that this was the first time that a foreign country had extended support to nab Dawood. Nothing moved after that and my report became part of a heap of pending files,” he says.

Never any concrete reason:

The hunt for Dawood has been on since 1993. While all missions to secure him or kill him were aborted, none of the officers, part of such risky operations were given the reason for the same being put off.

Officials say that the Dawood issue was routinely discussed. However, the government never put the intelligence agencies on notice that they need to get Dawood. Balachandran says that New Delhi had never made it its priority.

Nabbing Dawood today is much harder when compared to 1994. He has become an integral part of the system in Pakistan. He has an understanding with the ISI where he has to part with 40% of his earnings. This is big money. In return the ISI has offered him an immense lot of security. Officials say that it is difficult, but not impossible to get him or kill him. The current government has the will to do it, but then it would require a herculean effort to do so considering Dawood’s equations have changed immensely in Pakistan.