sahi bolta tha, koi insaaf nahin milega, tum log hamein terrorist banake chodoge. (Tiger was right. He said you will never get justice. Your system will turn us into terrorists),” accused Yakub Memon screamed at the judge after being pronounced “guilty”.
Yakub, a chartered accountant and the brother of Tiger Memon — another 1993 plotter, who managed men and arms for mastermind Dawood Ibrahim — gave the tinsel town, bred on star-studded potboilers, its fair share of drama, straight out of the sets. There was drama outside too — at the Memon residence in the toney Al Hussaini building at Mahim, where the D-company plotted the mayhem that changed the face of terror in the country 13 years ago. Neighbours cried “injustice”.
Comparing his life to the character played by actor Shashi Kapoor in Deewar, he said just as “Kapoor stayed back with his mother, despite knowing that a better life awaited him on the other side of law — with screen brother Amitabh Bachchan”, he came back to India “with my mother to face a fair trial, but was arrested for the wrong reasons”. An near-hysterical Memon pleaded for time and mercy for sister-in-law Rubina, “Woh ladies hai aur achanak who kaise surrender kar sakti hai, terah saal se woh relatives ke sahare ji rahi hai aur tum ek din unhe jail mein band nahin kar sakte ho. (She is a woman, how can she suddenly surrender? For the past 13 years, she has been dependent on her relatives and you ask her to surrender one fine day. It cannot happen)”. Yakub, who returned to India from Dubai a decade ago, said he “came here thinking that this was the land of Gandhi and we would get justice. But we were wrong. We had to face hardships, and now we realise that Tiger was right.” He had apparently ignored his brother's ominous words of caution — “do not surrender or else…”
This is not the first time Yakub set the mercury soaring in a courtroom. In 1996, when Judge J.N. Patel was presiding over the court, Yakub had charged “menacingly” at him, saying Tiger had warned them that if they surrendered they would face humiliation in India- and “today my brother stands vindicated.” Yakub is believed to be suffering from depression. The clamour was not much different at the red-and-cream seven-storied building on Dargha Street, Mahim, the Memon home. "This is not justice. Who will take care of Yakub’s wife and daughter now,” 70-yer-old Rashida Kazi wanted to know. Rukshana Weldon, next door, could not "believe that the peace-loving Memons could be involved in the blasts”.