It was late 11th March 1993 and me and one of my roommates had decided to go the Worli Passport Office for some official work. Next day however plans went awry and i got stuck in a different engagement and my friend made it alone to Worli. Even at the last minute he asked me come along, but i decided not to. Somehow the urgency of the task i at hand seemed more important and i stayed put. My friend left and it was only late afternoon news began filtering in about the devastation in Mumbai, Worli PPO included. It was late evening and we didn’t still hear from our friend. Meanwhile the CM had addressed the city, people were lining up blood banks in true Mumbai spirit but we were searching for news of our friend. Those were the days when Mobiles didn’t exist and for that matter even landlines hardly existed in India. The good part was we heard in person from our friend next morning. By providence he too had skipped the Worli PPO for another urgent matter in another Churchgate Office. I visited the devastated PPO later and saw with horror the kind of damage these dastardly attacks had caused. Shaken like everyone else i felt that the perpetrators must not be let off and mercilessly hounded to the ends of the Earth. Individual Officers and men of brilliance would lead us to the right track i was sure. But bringing total accountability also required resolute and a determined Political vision, that was where i was a little skeptical.
Within days Police and intelligence had pieced together evidence that directed the trail to the Pakistani Intelligence, Dawood and Tiger Memon in Mumbai. Fact is days before they had even arrested a man who had been trained in Pakistan for exactly this act. While he revealed that the plan was for April, the masterminds decided to speed it up to the day i was deciding to visit Worli, 12th March 1993. Not many are aware of the scale of the 1993 Mumbai blasts. The logistics involved were huge. If a weapons cache came in and was to be stored, the person in whose house it would be stored would not question, nor even want to know what was in it or what was the purpose. Airport Security may ask us these questions on how we packed our luggage, but when you know known criminals openly operating without fear of law, asking you “Hey i want you to keep 3 suitcases”, you don’t refuse and run to the nearest Police Station to report. With an ineffective and disinterested State, apathetic Officials it would be a death warrant for not only self but family too in many cases if one was to do that. For the sake of Justice it would also be important to understand this aspect in many of the cases pertaining to the 1993 blasts. However i would leave Sanjay Dutt out, as he was so well connected that would leave him being at the mercy of apathetic officials and a disinterested State as null and void. In fact his family was itself a part of the State and so thus his involvement was indeed of a much diabolical nature.
WIth this background will ask readers to look at the whole thing from this angle here too:
Imagine ISI planning the blasts with Dawood.
ISI: Listen Dawood, this is the biggest you’ve ever done till now. Who is the Man you have on the spot to coordinate selection, training, receiving cargo and final execution?
ISI: Will he be able to keep it secret?
D: Yes. Modus operandi is goods will be received, shifted, stored without anyone really knowing what is happening. The people doing so will be too afraid of questioning what is in the boxes or what it is for.
ISI: Maybe Tiger can organize, but what about his family, they may leak it somehow, we want it very quiet, not a whiff should get about..
D: See everyone in his family knows he’s basically connected to Bhai. They will never question him the why or what of it. They will do what he tells them to..do you think families of politicians ask them what is in that suitcase which some Mehta or the packet that Industrialists give daily?
That indeed is the tragedy of a Mafia don. Everyone knows something is being done, but the end purpose is no ones business. That is a reason why many of Tiger Memon’s family came back and tried and cleared their name. Yakub was married and had two children. His dealings with Tiger apparently were very minimal. That would be easy to establish. If they were indeed minimal, it would be highly unlikely he would be a co planner/ co conspirator, and at max possibly a safe asset to store suitcases, shift stuff, even get bikes etc. All this he may even have done dozens of times for his brother without question on many occasions, and that was pretty much even what Sanjay Dutt also did. But one thing doesn’t make sense. The 1993 tragedy was on such a massive scale, certainly for those times, it would be impossible for an active planner/ conspirator to ever think of coming back to the country. It would be impossible and an incredibly stupid thing to do.
If one wants punishment to deter, then hundreds ought to be hanged for helping ,store, shift and plant arms and ammunition particularly after knowing it is deadly stuff. One of them is the famous actor mostly out on judicially granted bail. Actually hanging even a hundred of those types and dispatching people to eliminate the planners whether in Karachi, London or Dubai would be a deadly deterrent. But that we do not expect for some reason from our Govt., so we leave that train of thought alone. But why not hang the foot soldiers, the ones who went and trained in Pakistan, came back to knowingly plant the bombs etc. What sense does it make not to punish them, (a stance taken by our Judiciary)? The Army doesn’t fight the enemy saying hey lets leave the Privates, Captains and Lieutenants of the enemy, we will only target the Generals and Brigadiers. It doesn’t work that way. Here we have absolved the Privates, Captains, Subedars of the Enemy but got the Brigadiers younger brother and want to hang him. We have to revisit this aspect then too.
In all of this Main Stream Media has done an awful job all these years. Their analysis of what happened has never been rank poor and inadequately conveyed. I have failed to come across a single worthwhile note on exactly the “How and Why” of exactly why Yaqub Memon is being hanged. But from all available resources this is what is available and none point him to be either a General or Brigadier of the enemy:
1. Yakub Memon was a professional CA staying separately from Tiger and worked till late.
2. Yakub had little to minimal contact and closeness to Tiger
3. If Dawood had chosen Tiger, the chances of Yakub his younger brother being a co-planner is even remote
4. Mafia families don’t work with family members knowing what specific job is being worked at.
5. More than 60% of Yakub’s family was in Dubai. Travel to and fro from Dubai was commonplace.
6. Yakub was at Dubai when the blasts took place.
7. The magnitude of the blasts, prevalent anger, calls for nailing those responsible were extremely loud.
8. Yakub would have certainly now known that Tiger was behind this.
9. It would be an impossibility for him to immediately return to India.
10. If he was a Co Conspirator he would never make the attempt to come back
11. His fear on returning would be a Death Sentence using stretched evidence due to relationship with Tiger.
12. Everything Indicates his surrender was based on assurance of no Capital Punishment by the Home Minister.
13. The above point is reinforced by RAW Chief B Raman who was responsible in being able to bring him back
14. Shri B Raman clearly was disgusted at the Death Sentence handed and wrote a specific article on it.
He felt certain “mitigating circumstances in the case of Yakub Memon and some other members of the family were probably not brought to the notice of the court by the prosecution and that the prosecution did not suggest to the court that these circumstances should be taken into consideration while deciding on the punishment to be awarded to them”.
Thus Raman felt the prosecution had held back crucial evidence to get the maximum sentence for Yakub Memon!
15. Tendency for Political brownie points to show a Key Planner for 93 blasts has been caught and executed was evidenced by the way the Home Minister thumped his desk and lied in Parliament over the manner of Yakub’s arrest
16. It is plain wrong under any civilized and rational Judicial system for someone to serve 2 sentences for the same crime: A Life Term and a Death Sentence.
Key thing is the above will come to light irrespective of rhetoric flourished. And once it does, it will not do the Political System, The PM in power, the Judicial System and most importantly the cause of deterrence any good. This will certainly alienate a lot many. Trust in the Indian Judicial and Political system and their promises will be lost.
For deterrence to be effective for the 1993 blasts two things must be done:
1. Dawood and Tiger must be got in Dead or Alive for trials.
2. Detrimental and hard punishments for the Foot soldiers who knowingly planted the bombs.
Nowadays it has become a farce to show the person who does the killing as an innocent working under the command of evil planners. The Planner and Doer are both evil and need quick and deterrent punishment. In Yakub’s case he may neither be Planner and neither the foot soldier Doer. In Indian Law the two highest punishments are Death and Life Imprisonment. It is strange that Yakub has already served a life term and now needs to be served the highest punishment. This is not justice under any civilized legal system.
Our PM is understood to be RW and hard on Terror by most. Most RW are for heavy deterrent punishments to be handed over. But the RW also must importantly be seen as being Rational though Hard on terror at the same time. If at all Yakub turns out to ultimately not be a Key Conspirator (and he is not a foot soldier for sure), then RW Rationality to deal with Terror will be questioned. All it will take post hanging is a mail from Tiger Memon saying “My brother Yakub was innocent. He never knew what we were up to. They made him a scapegoat” . Every Left wing vote bank socialist and Islamist communal will play this tune to the people. Thus what this Govt does vis a vis Yakub is extremely important. The Prime Minister himself must be involved and make sure this pans out justly. If at all Yakub is not a Co Conspirator and Planner like Tiger/ Dawood, and he urges cessation of the Death Sentence, he will probably be seen as a very tall leader capable of delivering justice to all communities.
Added 26/7: Thinking on this a bit further, let us assume Yakub Memon is a KEY player along with Tiger Memon his brother in planning the 1993 blasts.
1. Why would he then come to Nepal armed with evidence against Tiger-ISI-Dawood in the form of documents, videos, audio tapes just a year post the atrocity? Nepal is RAWs backyard, its the last place he should be visiting! It just would not make sense at all.
Yet if his role was marginal-innocent and certainly nowhere or NOT as a Key Conspirator, then coming to Nepal armed with evidence makes sense.
1. He tries to negotiate terms for himself and his family to clear up on ISI-Tiger-DI nexus and his own marginal role.
2. Whatever way the intrigue happened, he is in India and now at the mercy of the Indian Legal system.
3. DI-ISI-TM are alarmed. They try and ‘work’ the system to show he is ‘guilty’.
4. Working the system entails a weak defence and witnesses nailing him as Key Conspirator.
5. The Intel team who got many details from him in Nepal/India are a bit surprised at his death sentence and possibly his role at being identified as a Key conspirator. They are confused themselves. Shri B Raman’s letter confirms this.
6. Nationalists bay for his head. The Supreme Court has excellent witnesses against Yakub.
7. Yakub goes under depression. ISI-DI-Tiger laugh it off and doubly make sure he is hanged.
Both those options must play up on ones’ mind. The Truth is not out in the open yet. But frankly if the above is the case i wouldn’t want to be baying for Yakubs’ hanging. So maybe a rethink/ execution stay, keeping these points in mind may be of essence. And yes,
I would appreciate people to look into these resources to understand the complete Picture: