MUMBAI/ NAGPUR: The countdown has started for death row convict Yakub Memon's execution on Thursday morning, after his pleas were rejected by the Supreme Court and the Maharashtra governor.
Governor C.V. Rao on Wednesday rejected Memon's plea for clemency, shortly after a three-judge bench of the Supreme Court rejected Memon's appeal.
Memon, 53, was found guilty as one of the prime conspirators in the March 12, 1993 Mumbai serial blasts which killed 257 people, and was awarded the death penalty.
Counting his last few hours, Memon will be the first and only convict in the 1993 blasts case who will get the gallows -- on his 54th birthday -- on Thursday at the Nagpur Central Jail.
Available reports from various sources indicate that Memon has reportedly not eaten since Tuesday, but his health -- both mental and physical -- were within normal parameters, according to two medical check-ups done on him on Wednesday.
Security has been tightened in Nagpur -- Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis' home city and also headquarters of the RSS -- with preventive and prohibitory sections clamped around the jail precincts, and in Mumbai's Mahim area where the Memon family resides.
Police are also on alert in other sensitive pockets around the state and geared to tackle any untoward incident as a fallout of the execution.
A set of three manila jute ropes, made by inmates of Buxar Central Jail in Bihar, has been brought here and trials carried out prior to the hanging.
A team of top policemen, including Nagpur police commissioner S.P. Yadav, Joint Commissioner of Police Raj Vardhan and others went around the prison to supervise the final preparations.
Maharashtra Additional Director General (Prisons) Meeran Borwankar on Wednesday arrived at the Nagpur jail from Pune to oversee the final arrangements before the high-profile hanging.
She went around the temporary 'phaansi yard' (gallows zone) created inside the jail accompanied by Deputy Inspector General of Police Rajendra Dhamne and jail superintendent Yogesh Desai.
In Mumbai, Director General of Police Sanjeev Dayal and Mumbai Police Commissioner Rakesh Maria met Fadnavis shortly after the Supreme Court verdict and the governor's decision.
A professional hangman, who is employed as a police constable in Pune, has been commissioned for the job and already reached Nagpur earlier this week to finalise the preparations.
Family members of Memon, including his wife and daughter, two brothers and other relatives are in Nagpur for a final meeting with him, and have sought permission to be present during the execution.
As per procedures, on Thursday morning, Memon will be woken up early and permitted a warm bath, provided a set of fresh clothes and arrangements to offer namaaz and read the Quran.
Later, he will be offered breakfast of his choice, undergo a final medical examination prior to hanging and given full information by a magistrate on why he was being hanged, before he is taken for the execution.
It was not immediately clear whether the government will hand over the body to his family or carry out the burial inside the Nagpur jail premises, as was done in the case of Pakistani terrorist Ajmal Kasab who was hanged and buried in Yerawada Central Jail in Pune on November 21, 2012.