NEW DELHI: Senior Supreme Court lawyer Prashant Bhushan on Thursday questioned the “unseemly hurry” behind the execution of Yakub Memon saying no time was given to the 1993 Mumbai blasts convict to challenge the rejection of his mercy petition.
Bhushan, who was one of the lawyers behind the last ditch attempt to stall Memon’s execution last night, said the apex court should have commuted his sentence factoring in several issues, including his “cooperation” with investigating agencies.
“He cooperated fully with the investigative agencies. He was suffering from schizophrenia and he had been in solitary confinement for a very very long time. Under these circumstances, his sentence should have been commuted,” he said. Addressing a press conference, Bhushan told reporters that the execution was kind of a “retributive violence” by the State, and it promotes “lynch mob mentality”. “Yesterday the issue was of giving 14 days time, as per a Supreme court judgement, so that he can challenge the dismissal of his mercy petition in court and that he can settle his worldly affairs.
But it (mercy petition) was dismissed late last night. No time was given to him. What was this unseemly hurry? What was the need for us to be so bloodthirsty?” he asked. Late last night, Bhushan assisted Memon’s lawyers, who changed strategy and rushed to the residence Chief Justice of India H L Dattu and petitioned him for an urgent hearing to stay the hanging.
“His lawyers Anand Grover, Yog Chaudhry had contacted me so I readily went there because I felt the sentence should have been commuted,” he said. Bhushan said the case against Memon was mounted entirely on the basis of “confessional statements” made to the police by his co-accused, which he said was not admissible under normal law.
“But since this was a case under TADA, it was made admissible and that is the basis of finding of his guilt. Even assuming that he was guilty, the fact appears to be that he came back to India and brought his family voluntarily,” he said.