Yakub Memon, the lone convict sentenced to death in the 1993 Mumbai serial blasts case that killed at least 257 people , was hanged to death at Nagpur central jail on Thursday at around 7 am, two hours after the Supreme Court rejected his final plea in a dramatic legal tussle.
Memon was sent to the gallows on his 53rd birthday.
Reports said Yakub's body will be handed over to his family after the jail authorities complete the postmortem procedure and other formalities. His body will be brought to Mumbai for burial. Heavy security arrangements have been put in place across the sensitive areas of Mumbai to thwart any protests.
According to reports, Yakub was woken by jail authorities around 4 am, permitted to bathe and offer prayers, before he was led to the gallows. Hindustan Times reported that the constable who executed 26/11 attacks convict Ajmal Kasab at Pune’s Yerawada jail in 2012 carried out the execution, while the rope was sourced from outside.
Additional DGP Meeran Borwanar, jail superintedent Yogesh Desai, a medical officer and few others were present at the hanging yard. This was the 21st hanging at the Nagpur central jail since independence.
A three-judge panel rejected the last-minute petition clearing the last judicial barrier to executing Memon.
Relatives of Yakub Memon walk out of the court | Source: PTI
The Supreme Court had last week rejected his one appeal, but Memon again approached the court arguing that the 'order to hang him' was passed but he still had legal recourse available.
A two-judge Supreme Court bench on Tuesday, July 28, gave a split verdict and referred Memon's mercy plea to a larger bench of justices. Supporters of Memon's plea said he cooperated with investigating agencies and that he was the only person of several convicted to face the death penalty for the bombings, which targeted separate landmarks that killed at least 257 people in Mumbai, then known as Bombay.
Police consider Memon's brother Tiger Memon and mafia don Dawood Ibrahim to be the main masterminds behind the attack carried out to avenge the destruction of an ancient mosque by Hindu zealots in 1992. Both remain in hiding, reportedly in Pakistan.
Others originally charged in relation to the attack had their sentences reduced to life imprisonment in 2013. But Memon was found by the court to be the 'driving spirit' behind the attacks, and his 2007 death sentence was upheld.
Yakub Memon's family members on a Duranto Express | Source: PTI
While Tiger Memon has remained in hiding since 1993, Yakub Memon decided to return to India from Pakistan in 1994, protesting his innocence. He was detained shortly afterwards in circumstances that remain unclear: he had said he turned himself in, but police claimed an arrest.
Memon was born in Mumbai on July 30, 1962, and attended Antonio D'Souza High School. He completed a Masters in Commerce and Arts at the Burhani College of Commerce and Arts. After his four-year study at Institute of Chartered Accountants of India, Memon went on to become a chartered accountant in 1990.
Here is the chronology of the events in over 22-year-old case:
-- Mar 12, 1993: A series of 13 explosions rock Mumbai resulting in 257 fatalities and injuries to 713 others.
-- Apr 19: Actor Sanjay Dutt (accused number 117) arrested.
--Nov 4: Over 10,000 page-long primary charge sheet filed against 189 accused, including Dutt.
--Nov 19: Case handed over to CBI.
--Apr 1, 1994: TADA court shifted from city's sessions and civil court to a separate building inside the premises of the Arthur Road Central Jail.
--Apr 10, 1995: 26 accused discharged by the TADA court. Charges framed against the remaining accused. Supreme Court discharges two more accused -- travel agent Abu Asim Azmi (now Samajwadi Party MP) and Amjed Meher Baux.
--Apr 19: Trial commences.
--Apr-June: Charges framed against the accused.
--June 30: Two accused, Mohammed Jameel and Usman Jhankanan, turn approvers in the case.
--Oct 14: Dutt granted bail by Supreme Court.
--Mar 23, 1996: Judge J N Patel transferred and elevated as a high court judge.
--Mar 29: P D Kode designated as a special TADA judge for the case.
--Oct 2000: Examination of 684 prosecution witnesses ends.
--Mar 9-July 18, 2001: Accused record their statements.
--Aug 9: Prosecution begins arguments.
--Oct 18: Prosecution completes arguments.
--Nov 9: Defence starts arguments.
--Aug 22, 2002 : Defence closes arguments.
--Feb 20, 2003: Dawood gang member Ejaz Pathan produced in court.
--Mar 20, 2003: Mustafa Dossa's remand proceedings and trial separated.
--Sept 2003: Trial ends. Court reserves judgement.
--June 13, 2006: Gangster Abu Salem's trial separated.
--Aug 10: Judge P D Kode says judgement will be pronounced on September 12.
-- 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.
--Aug 29, 2012: SC reserves its order on the appeals.
--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.