Officials at the Nagpur Central Jail have summoned the team that hanged Pakistani terrorist Ajmal Kasab at Yerawada jail in November 2012 for executing Yakub Memon on July 30 even though the 1993 Mumbai serial blasts convict filed a fresh mercy petition to the Maharashtra governor on Wednesday, sources said.
A senior jail official told HT, "Even though he has filed a mercy petition before the governor, we are certain that Yakub will be hanged on July 30 and we are making all the necessary arrangements accordingly."
On Tuesday, a three-judge Supreme Court bench had rejected Memon's curative petition, saying the grounds raised by him do not fall within the principles laid down by the apex court in 2002.
After receiving a second mercy petition — 2,581 pages long — filed by Yakub on Wednesday, state government officials began hectic deliberations on whether it would be possible to stick to the date fixed for his execution on his 53rd birthday. But now there are doubts as to whether the execution can be carried out as scheduled, considering the time it will take to process Memon's mercy petition.
Sources said the home department will send the petition to the governor with its advice on Thursday, and to the central government a day or two later. Though the governor is not expected to take much time for a decision (as it will most likely be based on the government's advice), it is primarily the state's and central government's responsibility to check the petition's tenability.
According to home department officials, if the reasons given in the new petition do not differ from those in the first petition, it will not be admitted by the competent authorities – the governor of Maharashtra and the President of India. If the government finds the petition to be untenable, it can be rejected by the governor straight away, based on the 'advice' of the state, the official said.
But in case it is found to be tenable, the governor may take more time arrive at a decision and may direct the state government to stay Memon's execution with the permission of the TADA court. The stay can be initiated in consultation with the central government and by taking the petition to the President.
Also, if the petition is deemed tenable, the Supreme Court's guidelines, which specify a 14-day gap between deciding on a mercy petition and executing a convict, will kick in, putting the July 30 execution date in further doubt.
Prison officials are, however, busy finalising the procedure to execute Memon. Sources said that officials are conducting a five-day trial for Memon's hanging using a wooden statue of a similar weight and height.
Memon and his family have been informed about the rejection of his curative petition and the state's decision to hang him on July 30. According to reports, Memon's wife Raheen, his daughter and other family members are expected to arrive in Nagpur on Thursday and meet Memon and his lawyer Anil Gedam.
On Wednesday, a team of doctors examined Yakub's health and said he is suffering from anxiety. Memon is also said to suffer from schizophrenia.
Memon is perhaps the most educated and unassuming member of his family. During his stint at the Nagpur jail, he has completed two post-graduation degrees — in English literature and political science — from the Indira Gandhi Open University (IGNOU).
Before the 1993 blasts, he owned an export firm that was allegedly managed by his gangster brother Tiger Memon. He was accused of funding the training of 15 young men on the use of arms and ammunition in Pakistan, and the escape of his relatives following the 1993 serial blasts, which killed 257 people and injured over 700.