File picture of Yakub Memon’s wife Raheen
March 21: Yakub Memon had “surrendered” to the CBI in 1994 in the hope of clearing his name but the Supreme Court said today that he was one of the “driving spirits” behind the Bombay blasts of 1993.
The Supreme Court weighed two factors while deciding if Yakub deserved the death sentence: whether the accused was in the commanding position in the plot and was involved in crimes of the utmost gravity.
On both counts, Yakub, the younger brother of Tiger Memon who was a close aide to Dawood Ibrahim, was found guilty, which mitigated favourable factors such as the absence of a criminal record.
“This is the special reason, which warrants death penalty to the accused,” the apex court said today while upholding the capital punishment.
“If we say it in a metaphoric style, A-1 (Yakub) and all the absconding accused were the archers whereas rest of the appellants were the arrows in their hands,” the bench of Justices P. Sathasivam and B.S. Chauhan said.
Justifying the death penalty, the court said: “A-1 is the younger brother of Tiger Memon, who is one of the masterminds behind the blasts. A-1 was in a position of authority, particularly, had played a significant role in the context of the blasts which is important while determining the sentence.”
“The confessional statements of the co-accused… establish the dominating position of the appellant in comparison with other 10 appellants. A-1’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 again revealed in the confessional statements of various co-accused persons,” the court added.
“Essentially, A-1’s deeds can’t be viewed distinct from the act of Tiger Memon, hence, both owe an equivalent responsibility for the blasts…. “From this conduct, it is not hyperbole to state that he was one of the ‘driving spirits’ behind the plan of the 1993 blasts,” the court said.
The bench said that unlike 10 others taken off the death row, Yakub had “effective control over the incident”.
Now lodged in Nagpur jail after the Tada court judge P.D. Kode convicted and sentenced him to death along with the bomb planters in July 2007, Yakub had screamed like a caged animal when the original sentence was delivered.
Yakub had then sprung to his feet, raised his arms and shouted “ My Lord, forgive this man, he knows not what he does!” before walking off angrily.
“Bhai (Tiger Memon) had told me 13 years ago that it won’t be of any use trying to be (Mahatma) Gandhi and returning to Hindustan. It took me 13 years to realise it,” a bitter Yakub had told Judge Kode.
Then 45 years old, Yakub had told the court that he and his family had no inkling of the serial blasts conspiracy and had travelled to Dubai on March 9, 1993, for a vacation at his brother Suleiman’s house. He had turned emotional about his daughter who was due to be born two days after he “surrendered” in 1994, and was 12 years old when he was convicted.
“I have not spent a single day with my daughter in her entire life,” Yakub had told the judge.
The third of the six sons of Abdul Razzaq, Yakub was the most educated in the family. An English medium student, he completed a degree in commerce and became a chartered accountant in 1990. In 1991, he set up a chartered accountancy firm, Mehta and Memon Associates, with childhood friend Chetan Mehta. In 1992, he formed his own firm, AR & Sons, named after his father.
His firm was so successful that he won the best chartered accountant award from the Memon community. He also set up Tejarath International to export meat to West Asia. In a short span, he bought six flats in the Al-Hussaini building at Mahim.
According to the CBI, Yakub along with his parents, three brothers, their wives and children left Bombay for Dubai on March 9. Tiger Memon followed them, hours before the RDX-laden vehicle bombs exploded on March 12, 1993. Police investigations showed that Yakub had used his chartered accountant’s expertise to conceal the trail of money.
Police said Yakub was arrested from New Delhi railway station in August 1994. But Yakub claimed he was detained at Kathmandu and brought to Delhi as part of a deal that promised him leniency.