Yakub Memon, the sole convict on death row in the 1993 Mumabi blasts case, was hanged after the last-minute efforts by his counsels to stall the execution failed. In a historic hearing, the Supreme Court heard his plea till early morning hours before rejecting it.
Memon, whom the Supreme Court had described as the “driving spirit” behind the worst terror assault till date that left 257 dead and 713 wounded, was hanged at the Nagpur Central Jail at 7 am, two hours after his last-ditch attempt to gain relief failed. Memon's body was handed over to his relatives after completion of formalities.
Yakub’s execution, after a contentious debate a mercy petition to the President by eminent personalities, including some former Supreme Court judges, was preceded by an extraordinary hearing by an apex court bench at 3.20 am. In a late night move, his counsels had made a last-minute effort to save him from the gallows by rushing to the residence of the Chief Justice of India H.L. Dattu with a petition for an urgent hearing. The petition asked for a stay on the hanging on the ground that 14 days’ time was needed to be given to a death row convict to enable him to challenge the rejection of his mercy plea and for other purposes.
After due consultations, the CJI constituted a three-judge bench headed by Justice Dipak Misra, which had earlier upheld the death warrant and refused to stay its execution. The unprecedented hearing began in Court Room 4 at 3:20 am and concluded at 4:50 am, thereby sealing Memon’s fate“The plea is dismissed,” said Justice Dipak Misra, writing the judgement for the bench. The bench said that the convict had “ample opportunity” after his first mercy plea rejection in April, 2014 which was communicated to him on May 26, 2014. Consequently, a stay on the death warrant was considered a travesty of justice by the court and accordingly, the plea was dismissed.
Memon, younger brother of Tiger Memon, a key conspirator in the blasts and close associate of fugitive mobster Dawood Ibrahim, was described by the Supreme Court as the “driving spirit” behind the blasts when it upheld his conviction and death sentence on March 21, 2013. The special TADA court had awarded him death penalty on September 12, 2006.
The blasts had followed the 1992-93 communal riots after the Babri Masjid demolition. Yakub had arranged funds and other logistics for the blasts and sent at least 13 to 14 accused to Pakistan from Mumbai via Dubai for arms training. He was arrested in Delhi on his arrival from Kathmandu in August, 1994. Yakub had claimed he returned to surrender as he felt remorse. Yakub’s brother Essa and sister-in-law Rubina are undergoing life imprisonment in the case for conspiracy and arranging finances and logistics for the blasts. But several key conspirators, including Dawood and Tiger Memon are still absconding and believed to be sheltered by Pakistan.
It followed an order of a three-judge SC bench upholding the death warrant issued by a TADA court against Memon for his execution. The bench held that the SC bench’s rejection of his curative petition against conviction and sentencing did not have any infirmities. The move by Memon’s counsels also came hours after the rejection of his mercy pleas, first by the Maharashtra Governor and then by the President.