Maharashtra Navnirman Sena chief Raj Thackeray on Thursday claimed that underworld don Dawood Ibrahim was negotiating with the Centre to come back to India and spend his last days in his home country. Thackeray alleged that the Bharatiya Janata Party, however, wanted to bring Ibrahim back and claim credit for it before the 2019 Lok Sabha election.

“Dawood is now physically handicapped,” Thackeray said while launching his Facebook page. “Once he is ready to return to India, the Narendra Modi government will blow its own trumpet over it. It will be a [major] political move for the BJP.

The MNS’ claims come at a time when authorities in the United Kingdom have seized the gangster’s properties in the country. Ibrahim, who is accused of masterminding the 1993 serial blasts in Mumbai, was named in the UK Treasury Department’s latest Consolidated List of Financial Sanctions Targets. The government listed Ibrahim’s 21 aliases and three recorded addresses in Pakistan as well.

Commenting on the development, Union Minister VK Singh had said on September 13 that the government cannot “let the cat out of the bag”. “We will not talk about Dawood at all,” he said according to NDTV. “Certain things are happening. We can’t let the cat be let out of the bag.”