New Delhi: Yaqub Abdul Razak Memon, the mastermind of the 1993 Mumbai serial bomb blasts, told the Supreme Court on Wednesday that the death sentence given to him was against the law as there was no mention in the trial court judgment of holding him guilty of murder.
"There is no word in the trial court judgment that I am guilty of murder or culpable homicide not amounting to murder, yet I have been awarded death sentence," counsel Jaspal Singh, appearing for Memon, told the bench of Justice Anil R. Dave, Justice J. Chelameswar and Justice Kurian Joseph.
Jaspal Singh told the court that eight-nine accused, who were actually involved in the killing of people, were sentenced to life imprisonment but Memon who was accused of conspiracy to commit the terror act was awarded the death sentence.
The bench was told this during the open court hearing of the review petition by Memon seeking the recall of the March 21, 2013, apex court order upholding his death sentence.
A series of 13 explosions on March 12, 1993 in Mumbai had killed 257 people and left 713 injured.
The court on June 2, 2014 had suspended the execution of death sentence which was further extended on September 26, 2014, after it had issued notice to the Maharashtra government on his petition seeking an open court hearing.
The apex court`s constitution bench on September 2, 2014, had held that the petition seeking the recall of the order upholding the death sentence will be heard in an open court by a bench of three judges.
Though the apex court had earlier rejected the review plea by Memon, it was taken up once again as the constitution bench by its September 2, 2014 judgment had said: "It will also apply where a review petition is already dismissed but the death sentence is not executed so far. In such cases, the petitioners can apply for the reopening of their review petition within one month from the date of this judgment."
The apex court on March 21, 2013, while upholding the death sentence of Memon, had commuted the death sentence of 10 others.
Upholding the death sentence, the court in its March 21, 2013, verdict had sought to make a distinction between Memon and the other convicts.
"To be clearer on the dominant position, the blasts on March 12, 1993 was at the discretion of the masterminds, meaning thereby, they had the effective control over the incident. It is this effective control over the incident, which is absent in the role played by rest of the appellants," the court said.
Comparing Memon and other masterminds as "archers" and others as "arrows", the court had said: "If we say it in a metaphoric style, A-1 (Memon) and all the absconding accused were the archers whereas rest of the appellants were arrows in their hands."
Commuting the death sentence of the 10 others to life imprisonment, the court had said they were mere subordinates in the execution of the conspiracy.