Yakub Memon, the lone convict in 1993 Mumbai serial blast case awarded a death sentence, was executed by hanging on Thursday morning at 6:19 AM. Even the last minute efforts by his counsels to seek a stay by the Supreme Court couldn’t prevent the execution. Late on Wednesday night, Memon’s counsels Anand Grover, Vrinda Grover, Nitya Ramakrishnan and Prashant Bhushan rushed to the residence of Chief Justice of India HL Dattu with a petition seeking a stay of hanging on the ground that “14 days’ time is needed” to be given to a death row convict to enable him challenge the rejection of his plea.
In an unprecedented move, the Supreme Court heard Memon’s plea after Chief Justice Dattu constituted a 3-judge bench headed by Justice Dipak Misra, which had on Wednesday upheld the death warrant and refused to stay its execution. The hearing began at 3:20 AM on Thursday morning and concluded at 4:50 AM with the bench rejecting Memon’s last ever plea.
“Stay of death warrant would be a travesty of justice. The plea is dismissed,” said Justice Dipak Misra, writing the judgement for the bench.
With Supreme Court sticking to its earlier judgement, Memon’s execution was held as per the schedule on Thursday morning. The body of Memon, who would have turned 53 today, was handed over to his relatives who brought it to their family residence in Mahim, Mumbai later today afternoon.
Meanwhile, tight security arrangements have been made across the state to prevent any law and order problem.
Earlier on Wednesday, Memon’s last hope seeking commutation of his death sentence ended after President Pranab Mukherjee rejected his second mercy plea. The President in 2014 too had rejected Memon’s mercy petition. The Union government had also advised the President to reject Memon’s mercy plea. Governor of Maharashtra, C. Vidyasagar Rao had also rejected his mercy plea.
Memon’s family had filed a second mercy plea before the President even as the hearing was going on in the Supreme Court on his petition seeking stay of the execution.
Dismissing his plea seeking stay of hanging on grounds of “procedures” not followed while issuing the death warrant, the three-judge special bench comprising Justices Dipak Misra, Prafulla C Pant and Amitava Roy had ordered, “the issuance of death warrant is in order and we do not find any kind of legal fallacy.”.
“Issuance of death warrant by the TADA court of April 30 cannot be faulted…in the result, the writ petition (filed by Memon) sans merit and stands dismissed,” added the special bench in its order.
The question of his execution had earlier split the top court bench on Tuesday necessitating his recent plea seeking stay on the execution to be re-heard by a special bench. On Tuesday, the two-judge bench of Justice Kurian Joseph and Justice Anil Dave had delivered a split verdict after which Chief Justice HL Dattu formed a three judge special bench.
Yakub Memon, brother of the serial blast mastermind Tiger Memon, was lodged in jail ever since he was arrested by Nepal police at Kathmandu Airport and handed over to CBI in 1995. His accounting firm used to handle the finances of brother Tiger Memon’s illegal operations, which included lucrative silver smuggling.
257 people were killed and more than 700 were wounded in the barbaric serial blasts across India’s commercial capital which shook the entire country.
(With inputs from the PTI)