| Majid Memon: In gunsights
Mumbai, July 4: Majid Memon, a lawyer known for representing several defendants in hot-potato blast cases, became the target of a gangland-style shooting today but survived unhurt.
Two unidentified men on motorbikes shot at him outside his Bandra residence at 9 am when he was about to leave for his daily round of courts.
A security guard fired back, forcing the duo to flee. Memon and his son, who was also in the car, were saved as the bullets hit the rear of the vehicle.
The attack left Memon with little choice but to approach Mumbai police, the lawyer’s favourite target in many a courtroom battle.
Memon’s residence received two calls ' at 9.45 am and 10.15 am ' from a person claiming to be gangster Ravi Pujari, a former Chhota Rajan associate, who said he had ordered the attack and that the lawyer might be not be as lucky the next time.
Pujari, who runs his own underworld outfit, also telephoned a TV reporter, calling Memon a “traitor” for defending the accused in the bomb blast cases of 1993 and 2002-2003. “I will surely have him killed,” he reportedly said.
Police commissioner A.N. Roy said the call was traced to Monaco, but Pujari is believed to be in South Africa.
Known for his oratorial skills in the courtroom as well as TV studios, Memon has represented over 30 accused in the 1993 serial blasts case, which is pending judgment. He also defended chemical engineer Khawaja Yunus, who allegedly died of custodial torture by crime branch officers.
The lawyer, who played a key role in the acquittal of eight Ghatkopar bus blast accused by the anti-terror court last month, had complained of telephonic threats from unidentified people a week ago.
When the crime branch told him it had specific intelligence that Memon could be a target of the underworld, he dismissed it and instead, in a letter to director-general of police P.S. Pasricha, said the threats could be from the 29 policemen trying to evade arrest in the Khawaja Yunus case. He had also refused the security the police provided him.
Memon today said he has merely done his job of defending innocent people and it is up to the judicial system to convict or acquit them.
“If lawyers and judges are threatened and attacked in a civilised society, then people would lose faith in the system. If Pujari sahab had any problems, he should have talked to me.”