Yakub Memon hanged at Nagpur Central Jail for involvement in 1993 Mumbai blasts
After being incarcerated for over 21 years, Yakub Memon was finally executed on his birthday, having exhausted all the legal remedies available to him.
NAGPUR: Yakub Abdul Razak Memon, 53, the only person to be sentenced to death for the 1993 Mumbai serial blasts that killed 257 innocent people, was hanged at Nagpur’s Central Jail between 6.30 and 7 a.m. on Thursday.
After being incarcerated for over 21 years, Yakub Memon was executed on his 54th birthday, having exhausted all the legal remedies available to him.
Jail officials announced the hanging, while doctors confirmed that Memon was dead. Reports said his body would be taken to Mumbai at 12.30 pm and handed over to his family. His funeral would take place at the Marine Lines cemetery. The authorities have stipulated that there will be no parading of the body s it could spark off a law and order situation.
Earlier, Yakub Memon was declared fit to hanged by the jailor of Nagpur Central Jail. Rs 22 lakh were sanctioned for the hanging.
Unprecedented SC hearing at 3.00 am
In an unprecedented hearing held at the Supreme Court at 3.18 a.m. on Thursday, the court rejected 1993 Mumbai serial blasts convict Yakub Memon’s plea seeking postponement of his hanging by 14 days.
The apex court bench comprising Justice Dipak Misra, Justice Prafulla C. Pant and Justice Amitava Roy post-midnight rejected Memon’s plea seeking 14 days’ time, finally at 5.00 am, before the execution of his death sentence is carried out.
The court said that “the petitioner did not raise any question when earlier, the mercy petition by his brother was rejected by the president in 2014”.
The apex court bench, while rejecting Memon’s latest plea, observed that there was nothing new in the new petition as it was a repetition of the same argument that was advanced on Wednesday.
“Same thing was there in yesterday’s (Wednesday) petition. There is nothing new in the new petition,” said Justice Misra in the course of the hearing.
Saying that Memon was given “ample opportunity” to present his case before the apex court, the bench said that he was heard for 10 days in the course of the hearing of his review petition while law mandates per half an hour hearing.
Even as the President rejected the mercy plea, Memon’s counsel and activists, including senior lawyers, including Indira Jaising and Prashant Bhushan, in a last-ditch effort approached Chief Justice of India H L Dattu with a petition seeking stay of 1993 Mumbai blast convict Yakub Memon’s execution for 14 days, so that the death row inmate can meet his family members.
Heavy security in Nagpur, Mumbai
Security had been beefed up in the state of Maharashtra, especially in Mumbai and Nagpur, to thwart and control any untoward incident or law and order problem that may arise following the hanging of Memon.
Section 144 was imposed around the Nagpur Central Jail, with heavy security arrangements in and outside the prison. Security was also increased in Mumbai’s Mahim area, where the Memons live.
SC, President reject mercy plea
Earlier, on Wednesday, a three-member bench of the Supreme Court rejected Yakub Memon’s plea seeking a reconsideration of his death sentence, paving the way for his execution.
Late on Wednesday, President Pranab Mukherjee too rejected the clemency petition moved by Memon, following the advice of the Ministry of Home Affairs.
Home Minister Rajnath Singh was closeted with the President for over 2 hours to convey the government’s view that the mercy petition be rejected.
No legal fallacy, says Supreme Court
Earlier, rejecting Memon’s plea, the Supreme Court ruled that there was no lapse in the curative petition.
“Issuance of death warrant cannot be faulted with,” said the apex court bench headed by Justice Dipak Misra, while rejecting Memon’s plea.
Pronouncing the order, Justice Misra said, “we don’t find any legal fallacy” with the issuance of death warrant by the TADA court on April 30.
The court order came after a daylong hearing on the petition by Memon and also a reference by two judge-bench on the appropriateness of another bench that had heard Memon’s curative petition and rejected it on July 21, 2015.
Just hours before Memon was due to be hanged in Nagpur jail on Thursday, his 54th birthday, the Supreme Court rejected his last-minute petition.
Senior lawyer Ujjwal Nikam said, “The Supreme Court has rejected all the contentions raised by Yakub Memon. The Maharashtra Governor and the President will have to take the decision on the mercy petition today itself.”
Memon had filed a fresh plea with President Pranab Mukherjee on Wednesday, seeking commutation of his death sentence to life imprisonment.
Earlier, Maharashtra Governor C V Rao too rejected Memon’s mercy plea on Wednesday.
Memon and 11 others were slapped with the death penalty by the special TADA court in July 2007 for the 13 serial blasts in July 1993 in which 257 people were killed and 712 were injured. The apex court on March 21, 2013 had upheld Memon’s death sentence while commuting others to life imprisonment. One of the convicts died later.
Memon’s curative petition was dismissed on July 21 by a bench of Chief Justice H.L. Dattu, Justice T.S. Thakur and Justice Anil R. Dave. Prior to it, Memon — the brother of one of the main absconding accused, Ibrahim alias Tiger Memon — appealed against the sentence in the Bombay High Court, the Supreme Court and later filed a mercy petition with the president, followed by a review petition, and then a second review petition.
The apex court on March 21, 2013, while upholding the death sentence, had said his “deeds can’t be viewed distinct from the act of Tiger Memon, hence, both owe an equivalent responsibility for the blasts”.
Prominent citizens and leaders from four political parties were among around 200 people who on Sunday urged President Mukherjee to reconsider the mercy plea. Those who endorsed the petition included Bharatiya Janata Party’s Shatrughan Sinha, Congress’s Mani Shankar Aiyer, Communist Party of India-Marxist’s Sitaram Yechury, Communist Party of India’s D. Raja, actor Naseeruddin Shah, filmmaker Mahesh Bhatt, activist Tushar Gandhi, lawyer Vrinda Grover and economist Jean Dreze.
Larger bench constituted as 2-bench judge gave split verdict
On Tuesday, Chief Justice HL Dattu set up a larger bench after Justices Anil Dave and Kurien Joseph gave a split verdict on Yakub’s petition.
Dismissing Memon’s petition, Justice Dave said: “Submissions made about the curative petition do not appeal to me as they are irrelevant and there is no substance in them. In these circumstances, the writ petition is dismissed.”
Justice Kurien Joseph, however, said that there had been a clear violation of procedure and “such technicality should not stand in the way to protect the life of a person.”
Memon had sought a stay of his death sentence after the apex court had on July 21 rejected his mercy petition.
He moved the apex court contending that the death warrant for his execution was issued before he could exhaust the legal remedies available to him. He also sought that his death sentence be stayed by the apex court.
Who was Yakub Memon?
Yakub Memon, a chartered accountant by profession, was convicted for his involvement in the 1993 Bombay bombings by Special Terrorist and Disruptive Activities court on July 27, 2007. Justice P D Kode, at a Terrorist and Disruptive Activities (Prevention) Act court, found him guilty of criminal conspiracy (an offence that carries the death penalty); aiding and abetting and facilitating in a terrorist act (which attracts life imprisonment); illegal possession and transportation of arms and ammunition (which is punishable by rigorous imprisonment for 14 years; and possessing explosives with intent to endanger lives, which attracts rigorous imprisonment for 10 years).
Yakub’s brother Tiger Memon, the main accused along with underworld don Dawood Ibrahim, has been missing since 1993.
Yakub financed his brother, Tiger, and underworld don and terrorist Dawood Ibrahim to plan and execute the dreaded blasts in Mumbai that resulted in the death of 257 innocent people. He also financed 15 men who were sent to Pakistan to train in the art of handling arms and ammunition.
He was originally incarcerated at Pune’s Yerwada Central Jail but was later transferred to Nagpur Central Jail in August 2007.
Memon earned two master’s degrees, in English Literature and Political Science, while in prison from the Indira Gandhi National Open University. (With inputs from Reuters, IANS and ANI)