NAGPUR: With the Supreme Court rejecting relief to Yakub Memon, the countdown for the hanging of the only death-row convict of 1993 Mumbai blasts case on Thursday has started at the Nagpur Central Prison here.
Memon is all set to be hanged to death as per the Terrorist and Disruptive Activities (Prevention) Act (TADA) court’s order on Thursday on his 53rd birthday. All the preparations were complete, prison sources said. Top police officials on Wednesday visited the prison to supervise the security.
Additional director general of police (prisons) Meera Borwankar arrived from Pune to oversee the preparations. She is being assisted by deputy inspector general of prisons Rajendra Dhamne and jail superintendent Yogesh Desai.
Desai had overseen the hanging of Pakistani terrorist Ajmal Kasab at Yerwada jail in Pune during his stint there.
Commissioner of Police S P Yadav, Joint Commissioner of Police Rajwardhan and zonal deputy commissioner Ishu Sindhu visited the jail in the evening.
A Quick Response Team (QRT) of police has already been deployed near the premises. Though no intelligence inputs have been received about any possible incident, police are not taking any chances, sources said.
Section 144 of CrPC prohibiting assembly of five or more people has been imposed in the area around the prison.
Memon’s brother Suleman and cousin Usman arrived here today. “We have faith in Allah,” was all they said when accosted by reporters outside the hotel.
According to the jail manual, Memon will be woken up early in the morning, allowed to take a bath and offered some light refreshment. He would be given religious books to read or recite prayers.
SC dismisses Yakub’s final plea
Curtains came down on the legal battle of 1993 Mumbai serial bomb blasts convict Yakub Memon as the Supreme Court on Wednesday dismissed his petition that sought a stay on his execution slated for July 30 and the quashing of death warrants issued on April 30.
“Issuance of death warrant cannot be faulted with,” said abench of Justice Dipak Misra, Justice Prafulla C. Pant and Justice Amitava Roy, as it noted that after the apex court upheld his death sentence on March 21, 2013, Memon had availed all the judicial remedies by way of two review petitions, a curative petition and a mercy petition which was moved by his brother in 2013 and rejected by the president in 2014.
Pronouncing the order, Justice Misra said: “The issuance of death warrant is in order and we don’t find any legal fallacy” with the issuance of death warrant by the TADA court on April 30, rejecting Memon’s contention that it was issued even before he could have exhausted his legal remedies.
The submission by senior counsel Raju Ramachandran appearing for Memon that the court direction in Shabnam case that a death row convict should be heard by the trial court at the time of issuing death warrants was not complied with too did not find favour with the bench, which noted the death warrant was issued by the TADA court on April 30 whereas apex court judgment in Shabnam case was pronounced on May 27.
The court noted that Memon was intimated about the death warrant on July 13 which was more than mandatory the 14 days that has to be given before sending a death row convict to the gallows. The court also noted that during this period, his curative petition too was rejected by the apex court on July 21.
The court order came after a day-long hearing on the petition by Memon and also a reference by two judge-bench on the appropriateness of another bench that had heard Memon’s curative petition and rejected it on July 21.
This reference was made following a split verdict between Justice Anil R. Dave and Justice Kurien Joseph on Tuesday. The latter had questioned the appropriateness of the composition of the bench that had considered Memon’s curative petition.
Dealing with the reference, the court said that the curative petition that “was decided by the three senior most judges cannot be regarded as void or inappropriate” in context of the principle that was laid down by the court in an earlier judgement known as Hurra case.
“Thus, we disagree with the views expressed by Justice Joseph at this juncture,” the court said, holding that “dismissal of curative petition by the three senior most judges has to be regarded to be correct and not vitiated by any procedural irregularity”.
Without saying anything on the second mercy petition moved by Memon before the Maharashtra governor after the rejection of his curative petition by the apex court on July 21, the court brought an end to the legal battle being waged by Memon challenging his death sentence.
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