Yakub Memon: The white-collar terrorist

To the gallows: It was foolish to return to India and surrender, says Memon

Yakub Memon: The white-collar terrorist

 “O My Lord, forgive this man. He knows not what he does!” – these were the words of Yakub Memon, on July 27, 2007, when Justice (Retd) P D Kode, the judge of the special TADA court, awarded him death penalty.

Memon, the accused no. 1 in the March 12, 1993 serial blasts case, now 53, was an educated but reclusive man who seldom interacted with other undertrials, but at times showed his temperament. He was always protective about his family, except for his elder brother Tiger Memon, whom he blamed for the family’s hardships.

On September 14, 2006, the day he was pronounced guilty – he said that he was a fool to have returned and surrendered to Indian agencies.

“We were dragged into it,” he said, but immediately added – “Bhai 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”. He was then around 45.

“…..Saab, mujhe boolne dijeye, main thoda paagal hoon, main door ke soochta hoon, baad me mujhe paagal karaar kar dijeye, lekin mujhe boolne dijeye.  Good people are not making noises….,"  he  told Justice Kode.

He also went on to link the March 12, 1993 serial blasts to the communal riots of December 1992-January 1993 in the aftermath of the Babri demolition.

"There should not be any injustice to anybody. Srikrishna Commission mein jinka naam aaya hai, they should also be tried. No trial has started against those indicted in the report,” he told the court.

Yakub faced charges on four counts – arranging finance for blasts conspiracy with the help of hawala operator Mulchand Shah and through Tejarath International co-owned by his brother Ayub; purchasing air tickets through East West Travels for sending youths for arms training to Pakistan, purchasing motor vehicles used in the 12 serial bombings, and asking Altaf Ali and Amjad Ali Meherbux to store suitcases containing arms and ammunition. Judge Kode had found him guilty under Section 120-B of the Indian Penal Code.

Apart from the death sentence under this charge, he was awarded life imprisonment, 24 years in jail under TADA provisions, and 10 years imprisonment under Explosive Substances Act.

The third of six sons of Abdul Razzaq, Yakub is the most educated in the family. He completed a degree in Commerce and became a chartered accountant in 1990. In 1991, he set up a chartered accountancy firm called Mehta and Memon Associates with childhood friend Chetan Mehta, and later his own 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 the Middle East. In a short span, he bought six flats in the Al-Hussaini building at Mahim.

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