Nagpur | Yakub Abdul Razak Memon, convicted in the 1993 Mumbai serial blasts case was executed by hanging at Nagpur Central Jail today.
Memon, 53, a chartered accountant by profession, was the third main accused among the masterminds behind a series of bomb blasts in Mumbai on March 12, 1993 resulting in the death of 257 people and injuries to 1000.
Incidentally, Memon was hanged on his 53rd birthday, becoming the first convict to be sentenced to death and executed in the case.
Apart from dreaded underworld don Dawood Ibrahim, 10 members of Memon family including three women were accused in connection with thebomb blasts. However, his brothers ‘Tiger’ memon and Ayub Memon, along with Dawood remain holed up in Pakistan.
Of the three women from Memon family, Hanifa, mother of Tiger and Yakub, was acquitted due to lack of evidence. Rubina, wife of Suleman is serving life term in Pune jail. Rahin, wife of Yakub is on bail since 2006.
Of the seven male members, Abdul Razak Memon, father of tiger, Ayub, Yakub and others, died in 2001. While one person Suleman was acquitted in 2006, Essa and Yusuf Memon were facing life term.
This was the 57th hanging in Maharashtra and 22. The last criminal to be executed in the state was Mohammad Ajmal Kasab, a Pakistani militant, who was convicted for carrying out the November 26, 2008 terrorist attack along with other nine others who were killed by Indian security personnel. Kasab, however, was caught alive and after undergoing due process of trial, was executed on November 21, 2012 at Yerwada jail in Pune.
Yakub, who was arrested at New Delhi railway station on August 5, 1994 spent nearly 21 years in jail since his arrest. Memon was earlier lodged at Yerwada Central Jail and was transferred to Nagpur Jail in August 2007
He was handed down the death penalty by Justice PD Kode of a Terrorist and Disruptive Activities (Prevention) Act (TADA) court, who found Memon guilty on July 27, 2007. On March 21, 2013, the Supreme Court confirmed Memon’s conviction and death sentence for conspiracy through financing the attacks.
Yakub, born on July 30, 1962 in Mumbai, was the younger brother of one of the prime suspects in the bombings, Tiger Memon. He grew up in the Byculla area of south Mumbai, attended Antonio D’Souza High School. He completed a Masters in Commerce at the Burhani College of Commerce and Arts. In 1986, Memon enrolled in the Institute of Chartered Accountants of India and completed study as a chartered accountant in 1990.
Interestingly , the dreaded terrorist had earned two Masters degrees while in prison, from Indira Gandhi National Open University. The first, in 2013, in English literature and the second in 2014, in Political Science.
In 1991, Memon founded the chartered accountancy firm ‘Mehta & Memon Associates’ with his childhood friend Chetan Mehta. The following year, they parted ways and he founded another accountancy firm ‘AR & Sons’.
Named after his father, it was so successful that Memon won a Best Chartered Accountant of the Year award from the Memon community of Mumbai. He also formed the export company ‘Tejrath International’ to export meat products to the Persian Gulf region and Middle East.
According to Indian authorities, Memon financially assisted his brother Tiger Memon and Dawood Ibrahim in planning and executing the bombings. Memon allegedly handled Tiger’s funds and also funded the training of 15 youths who were sent to Pakistan to learn handling of arms and ammunition.
Tiger Memon and Dawood Ibrahim, the prime accused of the entire bomb blast conspiracy are still at large and according to reports both are holed up in Pakistan.
The Supreme Court held that Memon’s role was limited not only to the extent of correspondence between the masterminds and all other accused, but he was also entrusted with task of handling the explosive bags and for their safe keeping, which is stated in the confessional statements of various co-accused persons. It also held that Memon was actively involved in hawala transactions for the purpose of facilitating the blasts.
Memon then filed a Review Petition seeking review of Supreme Court’s judgment confirming his death sentence. On July 30, 2013. A Supreme Court bench headed by Chief Justice P Sathasivam and Justice BS Chauhan rejected Memon’s application for oral hearing and dismiss his review petition by circulation.
He then filed a Writ Petition before the Supreme Court even as the issue of oral hearing of review petitions against death sentences were being heard by the Court.
President Pranab Mukherjee rejected Memon’s petition for clemency on April 11, 2014.
On June 2014, Justices J. Khehar and C. Nagappan imposed a stay of execution while a plea from Memon, that review of death penalties should be heard in an open court rather than in chambers, was heard by a constitution bench of the Supreme Court which was then extended in December 2014.
On March 24, 2015, open court hearing began on Memon’s review petition. Senior Counsel Jaspal Singh represented Memon. On April 9, 2015, Supreme Court dismissed Memon?s review petition.
Memon then filed a curative petition to the Supreme Court, which was rejected on July 21, 2015. Meanwhile, Maharashtra Government issued a death warrant setting July 30, 2015 as the date for Memon’s execution.
Memon then filed a mercy petition with the Governor of Maharashtra and then filed a Writ before the Supreme Court of India for a stay on his execution till the mercy petition is decided. He claimed that the death warrant was illegal, as it had been issued before he had exhausted all his legal avenues of appeal.
On july 28, Memon filed a fresh writ petition before the Supreme Court challenging the order passed in the curative petition contending that the required quorum was not present based on the interpretation of the Supreme Court Rules. After the hearing, the two judges disagreed on the issue and passed an order requesting the Chief Justice of India (CJI) to urgently constitute a larger bench. Yesterday, the Supreme Court refused to stay the execution. Memon also submitted a petition for clemency to Maharashtra Governor C. Vidyasagar Rao, who rejected it, and a fresh petition to President Mukherjee.
His 42-year-old wife, Rahin Memon and 21-year-old daughter Zubeda met Memon last week inside the jail, amid tight security. Yakub’s meeting with his family members lasted for more than one hour after which they drove away in a private vehicle at around 11 am.
Rahin was also arrested along with her husband in the 1993 bomb blast case. She too faced charges of aiding and abetting terror acts but was acquitted in September 2006 due to lack of evidence.
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