Yakub Memon, the lone convict in 1993 Mumbai serial blast case to be awarded a death sentence, will be executed by hanging on Thursday morning. 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 late on Wednesday evening had also advised the President to reject Memon’s mercy plea. Memon’s family filed a second mercy plea before the President even as the hearing was going on in the Supreme Court over his latest petition seeking stay of the execution.
Early in the day, the Supreme Court gave a go ahead to Memon’s death warrant after rejecting his plea seeking stay on the execution. Governor of Maharashtra, C. Vidyasagar Rao had also rejected his mercy plea.
Memon is currently lodged in Nagpur Central jail. He is now set to be executed by hanging at 7:00 AM inside the jail premises.
The three-judge special bench of the Supreme Court on Wednesday evening refused to stay Yakub Memon’s execution by dismissing his plea seeking the stay on grounds of “procedures” not followed while issuing the death warrant.
“The issuance of death warrant is in order and we do not find any kind of legal fallacy,” ordered the special bench comprising Justices Dipak Misra, Prafulla C Pant and Amitava Roy.
“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 split the top court bench on Tuesday necessitating his recent plea seeking stay on the execution to be re-heard by a special bench. Earlier 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.
Finding merit in Memon’s plea, Justice Kurian Joseph on Tuesday had observed that the, “law is not helpless and this court is not powerless to protect right to life”. He further reasoned that Memon’s curative petition needs to be heard afresh as it was dismissed without following correct procedure.
On the other hand, disagreeing with the contention, Justice Anil Dave had dismissed Memon’s plea. But the bench in unanimity referred the matter before Chief Justice of India HL Dattu to constitute an appropriate bench.
Meanwhile, Maharashtra government has already begun the preparations for executing the death sentence of Yakub Memon. Maharashtra police officials are leant to have held meetings with the authorities at Nagpur Central jail. Also, the police and intelligence department are taking stock of the security arrangements in sensitive areas across the state.
Earlier, a three judge bench headed by Chief Justice HL Dattu had rejected Memon’s plea reasoning that the grounds raised by him do not fall within the principles laid down by the apex court in 2002 in deciding the curative petition, the last judicial remedy available to an aggrieved person.
Yakub Memon, brother of the serial blast mastermind Tiger Memon, has been in jail 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)