Yakub Memon’s last wish was to meet his daughter after being told he had exhausted all hope of stalling the execution but the 1993 Mumbai blasts convict had to be content with a telephone conversation, jail authorities said on Thursday.
Prison officials arranged for Yakub to talk to his daughter in Mumbai after an emotionally-charged meeting with his elder brother Suleiman, hours before he was scheduled to be hanged for plotting the dozen blasts that killed 257 people in Mumbai over two decades ago.
“He was very happy and cheerful after talking to his daughter,” a jail official told HT.
A disturbed Yakub broke down in front of his brother and remembered all family members, including wife Raheen and daughter Zubeida, who met the convict last week at the Nagpur central jail.
When Suleiman met jail authorities on Wednesday evening, rattled officials requested him to persuade Yakub to eat as the “restless” convict had refused food for the past two days.
“Trust and imposed faith on the almighty. We are fighting for you and all the avenues are yet not exhausted,” Suleiman reportedly assured Yakub and informed him about a last-minute petition filed before the apex court.
Officials said Yakub was served rotis and chicken legs with curry in his cell around 9:30pm. Yakub ate only one roti and two legs of chicken.
A cake was also sent to Yakub inside Nagpur central jail at night from the jail authorities for his birthday – he turned 53 on Thursday -- but it couldn’t be confirmed if he ate the cake.
Yakub didn’t sleep all night as senior lawyers attempted to stave off the hanging but prison authorities found him calm and resigned to his fate at 3.30am when he realised they had come for his execution.
At 4am, the authorities asked him to take bath and gave him a fresh set of clothes and gave him time to pray. A government medical officer checked up on his health and found his condition normal.
Prison authorities arranged a holy Quran for him to recite the religious text and offer namaz at 5.00 am. He was served breakfast 30 minutes later but sources said he didn’t eat anything. After a brief rest, he was taken to the gallows at 6.30am where he was informed about his crime. Chief judicial magistrate of Nagpur MM Deshpande read out the operating part of the TADA Court verdict that sentenced Yakub to death before he was hanged at 7am.
The hangman, a police constable who also executed 26/11 terror convict Ajmal Kasab, conducted the execution.
Suleiman and Yakub’s cousin Usman also spent a restless night as they tirelessly followed the news at their hotel in the busy Sitabuldi area as the hanging went down to the wire.
Both brothers, who came to take the body, constantly kept in touch with their Delhi-based lawyers but lost hope around 5am on Thursday when TV channels started flashing the news of the petition’s dismissal.
The last-ditch attempt to stave off the execution was triggered after President Pranab Mukherjee’s rejected his mercy plea the top court upheld his death warrant on Wednesday.
Read:Yakub Memon timeline: How the Mumbai blasts case progressed