An Atrocity Devours All
Neither Yakub Memon nor the CBI has told the truth about one of the most incredible episodes in the annals of crime—the return of the Memon family to India more than a year after the March 12, 1993, serial bombings in Bombay. Ordinarily, it may not have mattered. But their return and the long-drawn-out trial constitutes a saga of honour, faith, identity, the need for redemption, and the trauma of betrayal by the state. So a lot depends on the answer to the question: how and why did Yakub Memon, younger brother of the notorious ‘Tiger’ Memon, return to India in 1994, followed by 10 of his family members, including his wife and newborn daughter?
The CBI maintained that it arrested Yakub while he was loitering outside a railway station in Delhi. It would require a very gullible judge to swallow this. Yakub has insisted that he surrendered voluntarily. But he too has never fully clarified the circumstances of his arrest. I met Yakub in a CBI officer’s cabin shortly after his arrest. Dressed in a burgundy-coloured shalwar (his favourite colour), the handsome, bearded chartered accountant was cowering in a corner and looked apprehensive. I subsequently realised the cause of his anxiety—Yakub had just taken an incredible leap of faith and conviction. Knowing that all but two of his family members were innocent, and trusting in the fairness of India’s judiciary, he was bringing the Memons home. Only the two prodigal brothers who were involved in the bomb conspiracy, Tiger and Ayub, stayed behind in their plush, ISI-arranged sanctuary in Karachi. The rest, Yakub believed, would redeem their name.
It was this belief that had brought Yakub to Nepal in July 1994 with a bagful of material implicating Pakistan as Tiger Memon’s sponsor and protector...