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At 1:52 this afternoon, Majid Memon, a journalist, wrote an article "Yakub Memon: Break the official omerta - In case, state displayed bad faith" about his perceptions about the case and how he had helped verify information Yakub Memon had got with him about the residences of , Tiger Memon and another smuggler, Taufiq Jallianwala, whom the had not known of before. He described videos Yakub had made of their residences, and chaperoning provided by the ISI in Karachi, Bangkok and Karachi again. He described audio recorded by him of Tiger Memon with his associates.

He says that the Narsimharao betrayed Yakub Memon due to increasing pressure about being soft on terror and that the various officials - not just of intelligence agencies, but diplomats as well were silent because of a top down omerta and should be granted amnesty from the charge of contempt of court, if they are to testify - B Raman too had hesitated for this reason, as per him.

By 6:04pm, has published an article with statements from CBI officers that deny these claims. Shantanu Sen, who led the operation on the CBI end claims they knew there were differences in the Memon family over the blasts and some of them wanted to return to as they were not happy in Pakistan. He denies that any deal had been struck and that they nabbed Yakub in Kathmandu. He denied that Yakub Memon had been duped and points out that of the 11 family members who came to India, only four got sentenced. His parents got bail and charges against them would be dropped had the matter come to prosecution before they died.

Mr Chattwal, who had been named by Yakub's ex-lawyer as the CBI contact who told them to get bail and later betrayed them, said that he had received no such instructions and that Yakub had not cooperated with the investigation, but that the evidence was recovered from him at the time of the arrest.

A few days earlier, Ujjwal Nikam, the public prosecutor claimed not to know of the mitigating circumstances B Raman wrote of at all.

One possibility is that there is an evil conspiracy on hand, etc etc.

Is the other explanation more simple?

Is this yet another horrendous example of lack of communication between investigating and intelligence agencies? B Raman who headed Pakistan desk of R&AW and oversaw the arrest clearly saw mitigating circumstances. Shantanu Sen who led the CBI investigation was clearly aware of cooperation as his claim of Yakub Memon not being duped demonstrates (if there was no deal, where would a question of duping arise?). On the other hand, Chattwal, who apparently was the CBI guy at the courts end was not aware of any deal and believes the evidence to have been recovered from Yakub at the time of his arrest. Ujjwal Nikam, public prosecutor who asked for the penalty is not aware of any mitigating circumstances at all.

That there was some deal does not take rocket science to understand. If Yakub Memon was not cooperating and had been arrested and evidence against himself recovered, why would he call his family to India? Morever, if Yakub Memon had any evidence proving his own guilt, why in the world would he carry it at all, when he knows the documents he carries will go to Indian authorities? The idea is he came to India expecting justice and mercy for cooperation, not proving own guilt, right?

The 30th approaches and this story only gets murkier.

11

Yakub Memon is the brother of Tiger Memon and provided him and Dawood Ibrahim financial assistance in the planning of the Mumbai train blasts of 1993. After the blasts, Dawood Ibrahim and the Memon family escaped to Pakistan, where they lived under the protection of the ISI.

To make a long story short, anecdotal accounts reveal that the family did not approve of Tiger Memon's terrorist act and wished to return to India and Yakub consulted with a cousin from Bombay with regard to surrendering to justice in India. He had traveled to Kathmandu with documents, video and audio tapes that incriminated Dawood Ibrahim and Tiger Memon. While specific details in the interim are not clear, what is known is that Yakub Memon came to the attention of Nepal police and surrendered and was brought to India by road and flown to Delhi and formally arrested.

After he was arrested, he provided crucial evidence regarding the terrorist conspiracy to Indian agencies that helped, for the first time in conclusively establishing the role of Pakistan's ISI in terrorist attacks in India. He also arranged for his family to travel from Pakistan to Dubai and surrender to Indian authorities and be brought to India.

In essence, Yakub Memon had a peripheral role in the attacks and provided assistance to the investigation that helped establish the real culprits conclusively. While the nature of his agreement with the Indian agencies is unclear, an article by B. Raman, who headed the Pakistan desk of the Research and Analysis Wing of India when Memon was arrested is categorical that his actions and assistance constituted mitigating circumstances and that the prosecution should not have asked for a death penalty.

An article in the Times of India, after his sentencing in 2007 described that the family returned to India after discovering the magnitude of the damage from the attack and to make themselves available for questioning. The understanding was that the women would not be arrested, but only questioned, while the men would be arrested, but assisted to get bail. The family was not involved in Tiger Memon's underworld activities.

According to the Quint, which quotes Shyam Keswani on ABPLive, the Indian government reneged on the deal, rendering the CBI helpless with regard to their agreement with Yakub. "A senior investigating officer of the CBI called us for a meeting in one of the bungalows opposite the Secretariat....The CBI officer told me to file a bail plea and that the CBI would not oppose it. The reason for this, he said, was that Memon had helped the agency unravel things it would not have been able to in 30-35 years...The next day I filed a bail application, but the CBI opposed it tooth and nail. Later I met the same CBI officer and asked him why were you joking with me? He apologised and told me the Government of India has changed its stand... He was betrayed by the Government of India."

And the rest is history.

To the bloodthirsty fanatic supporters of the government, a hanged Muslim terrorist is good news, and anyone questioning that is defending terrorists and against national interest, and so on. The usual tape.

However, in my view, there are several serious reasons Yakub Memon should not be hanged.

What was his role in the actual attacks?

His involvement does not appear to have extended to the actual attacks at all. A chartered accountant helping his brother with finances - which are used in a terrorist attack - does not exactly scream of knowingly carrying out terrorist attacks. A death penalty seems disproportionate for his known "crime".

What is the value of the word of the Indian government?

While the exact nature of the deal with Yakub Memon is unknown, logic would tell us that he would not hae requested for the death sentence for himself and life sentences for his family as a condition of surrender. The government prosecuted him with proofs he willingly provided to bring the real perpetrators to book. We seem to have taken the easiest route to having someone to hang rather than following through on our word as well as pursuing the real culprits. It is whatever deal he made that brought the rest of the family to India. The documentary proof he provided allowed India to make a strong case against the real perpetrators - of this there is no doubt - Tiger Memon and Dawood Ibrahim. India not upholding its part of the deal stinks of dishonesty.

Whose interests are served?

Yakub Memon and his family frustrated the ISI and returned to India and their actions here helped India. Hanging Yakub Memon almost sounds like India serving the ISI by punishing them for betraying Pakistan.

Yakub Memon was advised by his cousin as well as Tiger Memon to not return to India. His hanging for doing exactly that proves that Tiger Memon was right and that the government couldn't care less about guilt or innocence if they have a hanging to show people for a crime.

What is lost with Yakub Memon?

Given the rabid nationalism going high decibel about terrorists, I'm not going to make humanitarian arguments about the death penalty or indeed the terrorist's interest at all. No use. We are beyond that. Life does not matter here if there is a good excuse, and there are a thousand excuses for taking the life of a terrorist.

Given how little regard we have for the country's laws or honor, it seems pointless to expect the word of the country to mean anything when a convenient hanging is in sight. After all, we specialize in saying whatever is convenient and doing whatever is convenient - independently of each other.

Given how little respect we have for anyone pleading to save lives, let us ignore the petition by eminent jurists, politicians and more.

However, what will even give nationalists pause is the question whether we have given up on bringing Tiger Memon or Dawood Ibrahim back? Or is hanging a peripheral accused already in the hands of the Indian government and letting go of the kingpins a part of some bizarre track two? Are we seriously saying that we would not need Yakub Memon to nail Tiger Memon and Dawood Ibrahim to the wall if we succeeded in capturing them? Or is this a quiet admission that we aren't going to get them and we might as well hang someone?

Are we saying that hanging Yakub Memon is in our interest while the main perpetrators are at large? Is his testimony or further information not of any importance in the event we can negotiate an extradition or to bring about international pressure for such an extradition?

All that hanging Yakub Memon proves is that the Indian government cannot be trusted to uphold their part of deals with approvers for intelligence on crimes. It serves terrorist interests by deterring any affiliate who has intel from taking it to the authorities. If they fail to grab the real culprits even with information you provide, you'll be hanged in the place of the culprits.

It is really troubling that the prosecution and courts have chosen to think like an average rioter on the street. One Memon masterminded the blasts and is out of reach, crucify his family!

And for what? The real culprits still roam free in Pakistan. Yakub Memon never bombed anyone. You are no safer with him dead or alive. All we are doing is getting rid of a key witness - legally, this time, advertizing that India cannot be trusted to make deals for intel in an extremely high profile manner and achieving little more than a dead body that would otherwise live in prison for life.

The ISI should probably send a thank you card to the Indian idiots.