The Supreme Court today rejected the final mercy petition by Yakub Abdul Razak Memon, who was convicted in the 1993 Mumbai blasts. In is the first execution related to the series of blasts, in which more than 250 people were killed.
Yakub Memon was convicted of financially assisting in the terrible event, and also of distributing arms and ammunition, explosives and detonators to the others. He, his brother Tiger Memon and Dawood Ibrahim developed the plan to place and fire the explosives. Yakub played a key role in carrying out the plan, and in fact, judges called him the “mastermind” and “driving force” behind the bombings.
The three-judge Supreme Court panel dismissed the claims of his lawyers. It was not the first attempt to have his execution commuted.
On March 21st, 2013, Memon’s conviction and death sentence were both upheld by a three-judge division bench of the Supreme Court. Then, on 11 April 2014, President Mukherjee rejected his petition for clemency.
In 2014, just over a year ago, on 1st June, two Justices, J. Khehar and C. Nagappan stayed the execution, based on a plea from Memon, that a death penalty review should be heard in open court rather than chambers. That was heard by a constitution bench of the Supreme Court, and the court extended the stay in December. That appeal was rejected by the Supreme Court in April this year. Not giving up, Memon submitted a curative petition to the Supreme Court, and that was the final plea rejected today.
Just prior to this final case coming to the court, one of Memon’s lawyers said he was hopeful the death sentence would be commuted to life imprisonment. It was not to be.
Memon, an accountant, was convicted almost eight years ago, by the Special Terrorist and Disruptive Activities court on 27 July 2007. The four counts he was convicted of were:
- Criminal conspiracy
- Aiding, abetting and facilitating a terrorist act
- Illegal possession and transportation of arms and ammunition
- Possessing explosives with intent to endanger lives
There was also some controversy around his arrest. The CBI claimed they arrested Yakub Memon at the New Delhi railway station on August 5th, 1994, but Memon claimed he surrendered to police in Nepal a week earlier, July 28th. His wife also surrendered to police and she was acquitted of involvement in the plot.
It is expected that Yakub Memon will be executed on July 30th, as had been previously arranged.