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Memons: the first family of the '93 blasts

Police say that the Memons - Tiger along with the rest of the family - had fled to Dubai a day before the bombings.

india Updated: Jul 27, 2007 18:31 IST

The Memon family is popularly known as the 'First family' of the 1993 Mumbai serial bombings that killed 257 people.

A series of 13 explosions rocked the metropolis on March 12, 1993. The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI), the agency probing the case, said the blasts were ordered by India's most wanted fugitive mobster Dawood Ibrahim, a former silver smuggler Tiger Memon and his close aide Mohamed Dossa to avenge the destruction of the Babri Masjid in December 1992 and the subsequent Hindu-Muslim riots in Mumbai.

All the three have been declared absconders by the special Terrorist and Destructive Activities (Prevention) Act (TADA) court.

The conspiracy was hatched by Tiger Memon, mostly at three of the family's four flats at the middle class Al-Hussaini building in central Mumbai's Muslim dominated Mahim.

Police say that the Memons - Tiger along with the rest of the family - had fled to Dubai a day before the bombings.

They were believed to have the taken shelter in Pakistan. Yakub along with the rest of the family, barring Tiger and the fourth brother Ayub, returned to India and surrendered to the CBI on July 28, 1994.

Abdul Razzak Memon: The father, an odd-jobs man and a cricketer who played in the Mumbai league, was also implicated in the bombing case but was granted bail during the course of the trial. He died at the age of 73 in 2001 before the court could pronounce the verdict.

After a long trial of over 13 years, the TADA court started passing the verdicts last September.

Hanifa Memon: The mother, kept the large family of six sons together in spite of the irregular income of her husband. It was only after Tiger's illegal business started flourishing, that the Memons sold their old house in Mandovi on Mohammed Ali Road in south-central Mumbai to shift into the two plush duplex flats in Al Hussaini building in central Mumbai's Mahim.

Hanifa too was booked for abetment of terror after she returned to India in 1994, but was released on bail. She was however, acquitted for lack of evidence last year. Now, an ailing 70-year woman, Hanifa is confined to a wheelchair.

Suleiman Memon: The eldest of the six Memon brothers, he used to run an independent business on his own prior to the bombings.

Suleiman too was booked as a collaborator in the conspiracy, but was released on bail and finally acquitted last year for lack of evidence.

Rubina Memon: Wife of Suleiman and a mother of two. Hers was the first name that sleuths investigating the bombing stumbled upon. A maroon Maruti van found abandoned by the police at Worli in central Mumbai with AK-56 rifles and hand grenades was found to be registered in her name.

The 41-year-old Rubina who was allowed to go on bail after her conviction last year to look after her children was sentenced to life imprisonment Friday.

Tiger Memon: The prime conspirator, a school dropout, was notorious for his temper. His contact with the Mumbai underworld started with the Dossa brothers. As his silver smuggling operation flourished, his contact with Dawood Ibrahim grew.

Though his whereabouts since the bombing are unknown, Indian intelligence agencies maintain that he is being sheltered by Pakistan's Inter Services Intelligence (ISI) in Karachi, where he is believed to have been given a new identity and is running a lucrative business.

Tiger, along with Dawood Ibrahim, still remains one of India's most wanted fugitives.

Yakub Memon: A chartered accountant by profession and the most educated member of the Memon family has been in jail since he returned to India in 1994.

His accounting firm used to handle the finances of brother Tiger's illegal operations.

His did well for himself and had bought six flats in the Al Hussaini building where Tiger already had two duplex flats.

He was sentenced to death for his role in the arranging and distribution of funds, weapons, arms and explosives used in the bombings.

Rahin Memon: Wife of Yakub, she was pregnant when the family fled India. She too was booked for abetment and after spending a few years in custody along with her child, she was granted bail.

She was acquitted in September 2006 for lack of evidence. The 39-year-old Rahin now lives with her parents and daughter.

Essa Memon: Was found guilty of conspiracy and abetment and has been in the high-security Arthur Road prison since his surrender in 1994. He is suffering from brain tumour and has been diagnosed with suffering from morbid obesity. Considering his ill health, his death sentence was reduced to life imprisonment.

Yusuf Memon: The youngest of the Memon brothers, was barely out of college at the time of the bombings. A schizophrenic, needs constant care and medication. Was spared the gallows on health grounds.

Ayub Memon: The fourth of the Memon brothers. He along with his wife Reshma preferred to stay back in Pakistan when the other members returned to India.

The TADA court has booked him for conspiracy and declared him an absconder.

First Published: Jul 27, 2007 18:28 IST