Ex-judge, special public prosecutor hail SC ruling on Memon

Mumbai, July 21 (IANS) Special TADA Court Judge P.D. Kode who conducted the trial in the March 1993 Mumbai serial blasts case and Special Public Prosecutor Ujjwal Nikam on Tuesday hailed the Supreme Court verdict which sends prime accused Yakub Memon to the gallows.

Retired Special Judge Kode, who sentenced Memon and 10 others to death in the case, termed the Supreme Court’s rejection of Memon’s curative plea on Tuesday as “a solace after 22 years and a victory for those who believe in the rule of the law”.

“The Supreme Court judgment shows that indulging in criminal activities is not a profitable business. As far as India is concerned, we don’t tolerate the people who play with the valuable fundamental rights of the citizens enshrined in the Constitution,” Kode told media persons shortly after the apex court verdict.

As per indications, the Maharashtra government has cleared Memon’s execution on July 30 at the Nagpur Central Jail, where he is at present lodged.

Nikam said: “This is a historic verdict in many respects. The SC, in its verdict, has distinguished the role between the conspirators and the planters and that they deserve bigger punishment.”

The top notch criminal lawyer said that “the death penalty is an effective remedy under the law and in this case it would act as a deterrent. Investigations proved that (Yakub) Memon had played a role and the courts have accepted it”.

Then Special Judge Kode had awarded the death penalty to Memon on July 27, 2007 – and Memon had screamed like a wild animal with anger in his eyes, stunning the packed courtroom.

A chartered accountant, Memon, 53, handled the finances for his brother, Ibrahim alias Tiger Memon in Mumbai.

He has been accused of funding the training of 15 youth who were sent to Pakistan for arms and ammunition handling, and funding the escape of his family members after the bomb blasts.

The entire family, including Yakub Memon, living in and around Mahim area of south Mumbai had quietly fled Mumbai shortly before the blasts.

Kode said the March 12, 1993, terror attack was the biggest in Indian history, targeting 13 locations simultaneously and blowing them up within a couple of hours, killing 257, injuring 712 and damaging properties worth crores of rupees.

“It had shocked the common citizens. Terror was created in the minds of the public and the people felt uncertain about their lives in this country, whether they would be secure, whether they would ever return home alive from work,” Kode said.

Though it was “a very huge operation, involving large quantities of RDX first time in India, big fundings, etc.”, Kode said certain things the perpetrators intended – like crippling the Bombay Stock Exchange or Air India – failed to materialize in the country’s commercial capital.

He lauded the then Joint Police Commissioner M.N. Singh and then DCP Rakesh Maria (now, Mumbai police commissioner) who worked very hard and investigated the serial blasts within the stipulated period.

Later, as some accused had fled the country, central agencies entered the probe, and more accused were added in the case.

“The entire case proceeded without any problems and the prosecution could prove the police charges against the accused,” Kode said.

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