Nine things you probably didn't know about Yakub Memon
The 1993 Mumbai bomb blasts accused had moved SC challenging the death warrant contending that all his permissible legal remedies have not been exhausted.
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As Yakub Abdul Razak Memon, a Mumbai-based chartered accountant and younger brother of 1993 Mumbai serial blast mastermind, awaits final conviction in the case to commute death punishment to life term imprisonment, here's what you need to know about him.
#1. Surrendered voluntarily in Nepal: As part of the secret operation executed by B Raman, a 1961 batch IPS officer, Yakub Memon handed himself to the Indian government to assist with their investigation on the case and return to his homeland with dignity. B Raman further describes in his article how Memon cooperated with the investigative agencies in India and did not deserve capital punishment. He writes, "There is not an iota of doubt about the involvement of Yakub and other members of the family in the conspiracy and their cooperation with the ISI till July 1994. In normal circumstances, Yakub would have deserved the death penalty if one only took into consideration his conduct and role before July 1994. But if one also takes into consideration his conduct and role after he was informally picked up in Kathmandu, there is a strong case for having second thoughts about the suitability of the death penalty in the subsequent stages of the case".
#2. Family returned to start afresh: Yakub's family returned to India in three batches to aid the investigative agencies in their probe and protect their property at home. It was Yakub Memon, himself, who insisted that his family should come out of their hiding in Pakistan and return to their homeland to start afresh and cooperate with the Indian authorities. Soon after, they found themselves slapped with charges of their alleged involvement in terrorist activities and all including daughter-in-law and parents were thrown behind the bars.
#3. Diagnosed with schizophrenia: Plagued by this serious mental condition, Memon has been suffering for some 20 years. In usual circumstances, a person suffering from this ailment is exempted from execution.
#4. The only death row convict in the case: According to the petition seeking "Stay Against Imminent Execution of Yakub Abdul Razak Memon, the TADA Court convicted 100 persons and awarded death penalty to 11 persons. In appeal, the Supreme Court commuted the death sentences of all the convicts except Yakub Memon". And those whose death sentence was commuted were trained for handling arms and played a direct role in planting explosives.
#5. Differential treatment: As per the text of the petition seeking clemency for Yakub Memon, he has already spent more than two decades behind the bars, while his trial took 14 years to arrive at a conclusion. While the apex court commuted death sentence of the other ten accused, he has been retained and his pleas been rejected time and again.
#6. Good conduct in prison: Memon who cracked the competitive chartered accountancy examination in 1990, completed two post-graduate degree programmes while in prison. As part of the distance learning programme organised by the IGNOU, Memon received a PG degree in English literature in 2012 and passed the exam for another PG programme in 2014.
#7. Ethnicity: Yakub Memon hails from the Memon community in the Kutch area of Gujarat. He ran a chartered accountant company in partnership with Chetan Mehta in Mumbai.
#8. Petition after petition: After his curative petition was rejected last week, Yakub Memon filed for a fresh mercy petition before the state court. Besides this, several political leaders, judges, academicians and people from the film industry have signed a petition seeking clemency for Memon. This includes Shatrughan Sinha, Mani Shankar Aiyar, KTS Tulsi, Naseeruddin Shah and Mahesh Bhatt. However, it is today that the Supreme Court will give a hearing to his plea for a stay on the judgement of capital punishment.
#9. Death sentence announced in haste: The petition requesting stay against Yakub's execution clearly states that he "was not given advance notice of the death warrant hearing and as a result of which he and his lawyers could not participate and contest the issuance of the death warrant. Lack of hearing makes the present death warrant void in light of the Supreme Court decision in Shabnam v Union of India & Ors, Writ Petition (Criminal) No 88 of 2015 (decided on May 27, 2015)."