Yakub Memon’s Blast Case 1993
On 21 March 2013, the Supreme Court confirmed Memon’s conviction and death sentence for conspiracy through financing the attacks. The 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 inhawala transactions for the purpose of facilitating the blasts. The judges called him the “mastermind” and “driving force” behind the bombings.
- Criminal Conspiracy
- Aiding and abetting and felicitating a terrorist act
- Illegal possession and transportation of arms and ammunition
- Possessing explosives with intent to endanger lives
Chronology of the case-
- Mar 12, 1993: A series of 13 explosions rock Mumbai resulting in 257 fatalities and injuries to 713 others.
- Nov 4: Over 10,000 page-long primary charge sheet filed against 189 accused.
- Nov 19: Case handed over to CBI.
- Apr 10, 1995: 26 accused discharged by the TADA court. Charges framed against the remaining accused.
- Apr 19: Trial commences.
- Mar 29: P D Kode designated as a special TADA judge for the case.
- Mar 9-July 18, 2001: Accused record their statements.
- Sept 2003: Trial ends. Court reserves judgement.
- Sept 12: Court starts delivering the judgement, pronounces four members of the Memon family guilty, acquits three. 12 convicts awarded death penalty while 20 were given life sentence.
- Nov 1, 2011: SC begins hearing on appeals filed by the 100 convicts as well as the state.
- Mar 21, 2013: SC upholds death sentence of Yakub Memon and commutes death sentence of 10 convicts to life term. Life imprisonment of 16 out of 18 convicts also upheld.
- Jul 30: First review petition of Yakub in SC dismissed.
- Aug 14: Scheduled date for execution of first death warrant which was stated.
- Apr 11, 2014: President Pranab Mukherjee rejects Yakub’s mercy plea.
- May 26: Yakub informed about his mercy plea.
- Jun 2: SC stays Memon’s execution on plea seeking review petitions in death cases to be heard in open court instead of chambers.
- Apr 9, 2015: SC dismisses Memon’s second petition seeking review of death sentence which was upheld by apex court.
- Jul 21: SC rejects Memon’s curative petition, the last legal remedy to avoid execution of death sentence.
- Jul 23: Memon moves SC seeking stay of execution of his death sentence scheduled for July 30.
- Jul 27: The case faces legal issues in SC regarding curative plea of Memon.
- Jul 28: Two judges’ SC bench split over Yakub’s plea, refers it to CJI for constituting larger bench.
- Jul 29: SC dismisses Yakub’s plea against his execution and says issue of death warrant is in order.
- Jul 30: Yakub Memon hanged in Nagpur jail.
Trial and Arrest in the case-
The Indian Central Bureau of Investigation claimed that Memon was arrested at New Delhi railway station on 5 August 1994. However, Memon claims that he surrendered to police in Nepal on the 28 July 1994. Memon was arrested with a briefcase which contained a recording of a conversation he had in Karachi.
Justice P. D. Kode, in a Terrorist and Disruptive Activities (Prevention) Act (TADA) court, found Memon guilty of the following offences on 27 July 2007. He was charged with Criminal conspiracy to carry out terrorist act and disruptive activities, and murder, aiding and abetting and facilitating in a terrorist act. He was given life imprisonment for Illegal possession and transportation of arms and ammunition, rigorous imprisonment for 14 years for possessing explosives with intent to endanger lives and rigorous imprisonment for 10 years.
Memon filed an appeal before the Supreme Court of India under Section 19 of the TADA Act and State of Maharashtra filed a reference before the court for the confirmation of Memon’s death sentence. Memon consistently claimed innocence. Memon then filed a Review Petition seeking review of Supreme Court’s judgment confirming his death sentence. On 30 July 2013, Supreme Court bench headed by Chief Justice P Sathasivam and Justice BS Chauhan rejected Memon’s application for oral hearing and dismissed his review petition by circulation. Memon then filed a Writ Petition before the Supreme Court as the issue of oral hearing of review petitions against death sentences was being heard by the Supreme Court.
On 6 August 2013, Memon’s brother Suleman filed a mercy petition before the President of India. However Indian President Pranab Mukherjee rejected Memon’s petition for clemency on 11 April 2014. On 1 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 24 March 2015, open court hearing began on Memon’s review petition. Senior Counsel Jaspal Singh represented Memon. On 9 April 2015, Supreme Court dismissed Memon’s review petition.
On 30 April 2015, Maharashtra Government issued a death warrant setting 30 July 2015 as the date for Memon’s execution. Memon then filed a curative petition before the Supreme Court on 22 May 2015, which was rejected on 21 July 2015. Meanwhile, 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. The capital punishment given to Yakub Memon has been criticized by a few eminent personalitities, including Research and Analysis Wing officer B. Raman, former Supreme Court judge Justice H. S. Bedi, Former Supreme Court judge Markandey Katju, Hussain Zaidi, Ram Jethmalani, Asaduddin Owaisi, R. Jagannathan and a few Muslim bodies, who asked for implementation of theSrikrishna Commission report. On 26 July 2015, a petition was handed over by some eminent personalities and political leaders to President Mukherjee to reconsider Memon’s mercy plea.
On 28 July 2015, 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. On July 29, the Supreme Court rejected his petition. Memon also submitted a petition for clemency to Maharashtra Governor C. Vidyasagar Rao and a fresh petition to President Mukherjee, both of which were rejected. As a final resort Memon’s lawyers filed a plea for 14-day stay of execution with Supreme Court Chief Justice citing that there needs to be 14 day period between a mercy plea rejected by president and the execution. A three-judge bench convened at 2:30 IST to hear the arguments. After hearing the arguments the bench upheld the execution, rejecting Memon’s lawyers arguments.
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