New Delhi: A late top official of RAW had favoured clemency for death row convict in the 1993 Mumbai blast case Yakub Memon on the ground that he had cooperated with investigating agencies and does not deserve to be hanged.
B Raman, who retired as Additional Secretary in 1994 and was in-charge of counter-terrorism, had written an article for publication containing this view but stopped it from seeing the light of the day following an after thought.
But the article has now been published on a website which talks about Memon being picked up in Nepal and his subsequent formal arrest at Old Delhi railway station by the CBI.
Chennai-based B S Raghavan, brother of the late Raman, said "everything that has been published is correct and he (Raman) had written it".
Raman, who passed away in 2013, had written about a "moral dilemma" in his mind ever since he had read about the sentencing of Memon to death by the court in 2006.
"There is not an iota of doubt about the involvement of Yakub and other members of the family in the conspiracy and their cooperation with the ISI till July 1994. In normal circumstances, Yakub would have deserved the death penalty if one only took into consideration his conduct and role before July 1994.
"But if one also takes into consideration his conduct and role after he was informally picked up in Kathmandu, there is a strong case for having second thoughts about the suitability of the death penalty in the subsequent stages of the case," said the article which has been published after taking permission from his brother.
The writer, who has written a book "The Kaoboys of RAW", spoke about many questions in his mind before writing the article but said "ultimately, I decided to write this in the belief that it is important to prevent a person, who in my view does not deserve to be hanged, from going to the gallows."
According to him, Yakub had cooperated with the probe agencies and assisted them by persuading some other members of the Memon family to flee from the protection of the ISI in Karachi to Dubai and surrender to the Indian authorities.
"The cooperation of Yakub with the investigating agencies after he was picked up informally in Kathmandu and his role in persuading some other members of the family to come out of Pakistan and surrender constitute, in my view, a strong mitigating circumstance to be taken into consideration while considering whether the death penalty should be implemented," he had argued in his article.
Raman said he was disturbed to notice that some mitigating circumstances in the case of Yakub Memon and some other members of the family were probably not brought to the notice of the court by the prosecution and that the prosecution did not suggest to the court that these circumstances should be taken into consideration while deciding on the punishment to be awarded to them.
"In their eagerness to obtain the death penalty, the fact that there were mitigating circumstances do not appear to have been highlighted," he said.
About his arrest part, Raman wrote that in July 1994, some weeks before his retirement, he was informally picked up in Kathmandu, with the help of the Nepal police, driven across Nepal to a town in Indian territory, flown to Delhi by an aircraft of the Aviation Research Centre and formally arrested in Old Delhi by the investigating authorities and taken into custody for interrogation.
"The entire operation was coordinated by me," he said.
Yakub was in Kathmandu to consult a lawyer about surrendering before the court but was advised against it and asked to return to Pakistan.
"Before he could board the flight to Karachi, he was picked up by the Nepal police on suspicion, identified and rapidly moved to India," he said.