Yakub Memon hanged inside Nagpur jail

Nagpur: Yakub Memon, the lone 1993 Mumbai serial blasts convict facing gallows, was hanged to death today after his last ditch attempts to get a reprieve failed early this morning in the Supreme Court.

Memon was hanged shortly before 7 am at the Central Jail here, top official sources said.

The execution was carried out about two hours after his lawyers’ last-gasp plea to get the death warrant stayed was dismissed by the Supreme Court in an unprecedented hearing that began in the wee hours and ended at dawn.

Memon’s lawyer mounted a last-ditch effort to save him from the gallows when they rushed to the residence of Chief Justice of India H L Dattu and petitioned him for an urgent hearing to stay the hanging on the ground that 14 days’ time needed to be given to a death row convict to enable him challenge the rejection of his plea and for other purposes.

The body of Memon, who would have turned 53 today, would be handed over to his relatives who have been camping here in a hotel after completion of formalities.

Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis is likely to make a statement on the issue in the state Assembly today.

The Supreme Court decision came after a day of fast-paced developments on Wednesday when the court had upheld the death warrant and the President rejected Memon’s mercy petition a little before 11 pm on the advice of the government.

Memon’s senior counsels Anand Grover and Yug Chowdhury said the authorities were “hell bent” on executing him without giving him the right to challenge the rejection of his mercy petition by the President as right to life of a condemned prisoner lasts till his last breath.

Grover said a death row convict is entitled to 14 days reprieve after rejection of mercy plea for various purposes.

Opposing Memon’s plea, Attorney General Mukul Rohtagi contended his fresh petition amounted to abusing the system.

A death warrant upheld just 10 hours ago by three judges cannot be quashed, he said, adding the whole attempt appeared intended to prolong his stay in jail and get the sentence commuted.