By Aditya Sen
On 30 July 2015, Yakub Memon was executed in Nagpur Central Jail and became Mumbai Serial Blast’s lone death sentence in 1993. There has been a lot of hue and cry on his execution, for some it is a relief from that eternal pain of the loss of their loved ones but it is still injustice to some groups. An analysis of the case of the Yakub Memon clarifying justice or injustice is given here.
Who was Yakub Memon?
The Yakub Abdul Razak Memon was a Mumbai-born Indian Terrorist. He was the first child of the Memon family to go to an English medium school and graduate with B.Com. He subsequently enrolled in India ‘s College of Chartered Accountants and became a Chartered Accountant in 1990. He set up “Mehta & Memon Associates” after a year with his childhood friend Chetan Mehta but then left and opened “AR & Sons.” He was also honored by the Community of Memon as the best CA in Mumbai. He expanded his business into exports and founded a company called “Tejrath International,” which exported meat products to the gulf countries and the Middle East. Yakub earned quite well through his business and, with the help of co-accused Mulchand Shah and his firms, financed the Mumbai bomb blasts by arranging air tickets for six other defendants to fly to Dubai and then to Pakistan.
Charges against Yakub Memon:
Yakub Memon was booked for the following charges:
1. Criminal Conspiracy- He funded Memon’s family’s escape following the blasts.
2. Assisting and supporting and congratulating a terrorist act- He supported and sent 15 young people to Pakistan to learn how to handle arms and ammunition.
3. Illegal possession and carriage of weapons and munitions
4. Have explosives with the intention of endangering lives
Memon ran away two days before the Mumbai Bombings but was detained at New Delhi Railway Station on August 5, 1994 but, according to him, on July 28, 1994, he surrendered to the Kathmandu police in Nepal. He had been arrested with a briefcase containing his Karachi conversation.
The trial was conducted by the court of Justice P.D. Code under the Terrorist and Disruptive Activities (Prevention) Act (TADA), and on 27 July 2007 found him guilty of the following crimes.
Yakub Memon was convicted of Criminal conspiracy to carry out terrorist activities and to assassinate, assist and incite terrorist attacks. He was also held liable for the illegal possession and transportation of arms and ammunition with the intention of endangering lives and was punished with rigorous imprisonment for 14 years and 10 years and then with a death sentence for all of these offences.
The following table clearly states the offense committed and its subsequent punishment.
Offense Committed – Punishment
- Criminal conspiracy in carrying out terrorist acts – Death Sentence
- Abetment in terrorist attacks – Life imprisonment
- Illegal possession of arms and explosives – Rigorous imprisonment
Memon applied for his death penalty to be amended but the Supreme Court upheld his death sentence on conviction of the criminal conspiracy of terrorist attacks. Not only was he associated with the master minds of the attacks but he was also tasked with the safe storage and disguising of the explosive bags.
Memon also filed a petition for review of the Supreme Court decision upholding his death sentence but on 30 July 2013 Justice P.Sathasivam denied his appeal for oral hearings and rejected the petition for review.
Justice J. Khehar and C. later, on 1 June 2014. Nagappan has imposed a stay on Memon ‘s execution as he was not allowed to have an open court oral proceedings. His proceedings took place in the chambers and not in an open tribunal.
Government of Maharashtra imposed capital punishment setting 30 July 2015 as the date for the execution of Memon. On 22 May 2015, Memon then filed a curative petition before the Supreme Court which was further rejected on 21 July 2015.
Memon also lodged a petition for mercy before Maharashtra ‘s governor for a stay on his execution as he was not yet finished with all legal avenues but denying the same, Yakub Memon was executed in Nagpur Central Jail on 30 July 2015.
Justifying the Justice:
Memon’s case history clearly depicts him as a cynical criminal who has been actively involved in all of the Mumbai Serial Blasts related terrorist activities. He has funded and sent fifteen young people to Pakistan to learn how to use weapons and ammunition, and has actively engaged in all the illegal activitiesAfter the Mumbai Serial blasts, he urged his brother Tiger Memon to escape from India as he booked their air tickets to Dubai and then to Pakistan. He was in contact with Dawood Ibrahim, as well. He is convicted of disguising the explosive bags provided to him for the Mumbai Serial Bombs, and keeping them safe. He was caught on the New Delhi Railway Station conversation tape with the Karachi.
“Under section 21 of the Act, unless contrary is proved, any person who is found aiding or abetting financially any person involved in the terrorist attacks and have in possession of arms then the person is presumed to be guilty.” According to the language of this provision Yakub Memon can be considered guilty prima facie as he was found with his conversation tape at Karachi and also funded the terrorist attacks which are clear evidents against him.
Besides this, the contention that Yakub was not allowed to get an open hearing which served him injustice can also be satisfied by the provision of above-mentioned act i.e. “The trial can be held secretly at any place and also keeps the identity of the witnesses secret violating international standards of fair trial.”
Hence looking at the intensity of the crimes committed by Yakub Memon, the subsequent punishments awarded to him are genuine as they all comply with the TADA Act. There is no scope of finding any injustice in this case. Hence, the death sentence awarded to Yakub Memon is justified as an example of Justice.