A former militant-turned-Congress legislator in Jammu and Kashmir said on Saturday that he had met prime accused Tiger Memon after the 1993 Mumbai serial blasts that killed 257 people.
A day after Tiger's brother Yakub was hanged for his role in the explosions, MLA Usman Majeed said he had met Tiger, who is still absconding, in Pakistan Occupied Kashmir (PoK). Majeed also talked about Pakistan and its spy agency ISI's role in the blasts.
"I met Tiger in 1993. I met him two-three times. He used to come to our office in Muzaffarabad (capital of Pakistan Occupied Kashmir). I was not friends with Tiger. Hilal Beg, the founder of the Students Liberation Front and chief of Ikhwan-ul-Muslimeen militant outfit, introduced me to him," the MLA from north Kashmir's Bandipora said.
Majeed said the meeting took place after the blasts. "He was most wanted that time in our country. He had carried out the blasts. I asked him how and why he had done it and what was the reason behind the blasts."
"He replied that the main reason was the demolition of the Babri Masjid and the riots that followed it. He said people, including women, had come to him and told him that they were being killed and he had got emotional."
He said Tiger had told him that ISI had planned and helped in carrying out the explosions.
"ISI helped Tiger in carrying out the blasts. It wasn't Tiger himself who did it. According to Tiger, everything was done by Pakistan – the plan and the weaponry was provided by them (Pakistan) and the plan was executed by his (Tiger's) gang on the directions of ISI," he claimed.
The legislator also claimed that Tiger was worried after his brother Yakub had "surrendered" and feared that the ISI might kill him.
"We had heard from the media that some Yakub, who was Tiger's brother, had surrendered...But Tiger was worried about the surrender. He thought ISI would lose his trust."
"When Yakub surrendered, Tiger left Pakistan because he feared that the ISI will kill him. He felt humiliated and disgusted and fled to Dubai. But after negotiations, they (ISI) brought him back because they did not want him to surrender.
"They feared Yakub might provide the platform and he will facilitate Tiger's surrender too," Majeed said.
According to him, ISI would never allow Tiger to surrender.
Majeed crossed into Pakistan from Bangladesh. After staying there for two years, he returned and surrendered to Indian authorities and was part of a counter-insurgent group headed by Kukka Parray. He later contested the assembly elections and won as an independent candidate in 2002 from the Bandipora consitutency.
He became a minister of state in the then Mufti Mohammad Sayeed-led PDP-Congress government. In the 2008 assembly polls, he was defeated by the PDP candidate but he wrested the seat in 2014, when he contested on a Congress ticket.