Search This Blog

Friday, 31 July 2015

याकूब की लाश के साथ उडते वक्त...


30 जुलाई की सुबह 11 बजे नागपुर हवाई अड्डे से इंडिगो एयरलाईंस के विमान 6E 544 ने नागपुर से मुंबई के लिये उडान भरी। विमान अपने तय वक्त से आधे घंटे देर से उडा था। देरी की वजह थी कि इसी विमान से 12 मार्च 1993 के मुंबई बमकांड के मुजरिम याकूब मेमन का शव भी मुंबई लाया जा रहा था, जिसे 4 घंटे पहले ही नागपुर सेंट्रल जेल में फांसी दी गई थी। इसी विमान में याकूब के चचेरे भाई उस्मान और सगे भाई सुलेमान भी सफर कर रहे थे। उनके साथ 3 पुलिसकर्मियों की टीम थी। कुछेक खुफिया एजेंसियों के लोग भी विमान में सवार थे। पहले से मिली सूचना के आधार पर रिपोर्टर गणेश ठाकुर और मैंने भी इसी विमान में अपने कैमरामैन के साथ मुंबई लौटने की टिकट कटाई थी। हमारे अलावा मुंबई मिरर अखबार की एक रिपोर्टर और एक फोटो ग्राफर भी इसी विमान में थे।

Courtesy: Prakash Malavde, Mumbai Mirror

विमान के निचले हिस्से के कार्गो होल्ड में याकूब का शव रखा गया था। ऊपर यानी कि कैबिन की पिछली पंकित में उस्मान और सुलेमान बैठे हुए थे। उसमान एकटक खिडकी से बाहर की ओर देखते हुए रो रहे थे, जबकि सुलेमान के चहेरे पर कोई भाव नहीं थे। ज्यादातर वक्त सुलेमान सिर झुकाये बैठे रहे। सुलेमान ने मीडिया से कभी बात नहीं की थी, लेकिन उस्मान फांसी से हफ्तेभर पहले मेरे रिपोर्टर मयूर परिख से बात कर चुके थे और उन्होने बताया थे कि 1994 में काठमांडू में याकूब कि गिरफ्तारी के वक्त क्या घटनाक्रम हुआ था। उस्मान से बातचीत शुरू करने के इरादे से मैने उन्हें आवाज दी उस्मान भाई !”। खिडकी पर से उन्होने नजर हटाई और हाथ जोडते हुए बोले- प्लीजमैं बात नहीं करना चाहता। मुझे आगे कुछ कहना ठीक नहीं लगा और मैं वापस अपनी सीट पर आकर बैठ गया।

मुझे उस्मान से सहानुभूति थी। उस्मान सालों से याकूब मेमन की जिंदगी के लिये कानूनी जंग लड रहे थे। याकूब के कहने पर उस्मान ही उसके परिवार को लाने दुबई गये। इसके बाद फांसी की सजा माफ कराने के लिये दिल्ली और नागपुर के अनगिनत चक्कर काटे। याकूब की मां और जेल से रिहा हुए भाई बीमार हैं। ऐसे में उस्मान ही उनके लिये एक बडा सहारा थे। उस्मान की तमाम कोशिशें बेनजीता हो गईं जब 30 जुलाई की सुबह करीब पौने 5 बजे सुप्रीम कोर्ट की 3 जजों के बेंच ने याकूब की फांसी रोकने के लिये आखिरी अर्जी भी खारिज कर दी।

मुझे विमान में उस्मान की हालत देखकर दुख हुआ, लेकिन याकूब मेमन के साथ मुझे कोई सहानुभूति नहीं है। भले ही आज दुनियाभर में सजा ए मौत के खिलाफ मुहीम चल रही हो, लेकिन मैं फांसी की सजा का समर्थन करता हूं। फांसी भारत में सर्वोच्च सजा है और याकूब के लिये इससे कम सजा नहीं हो सकती थी। याकूब को फांसी की सजा क्यों न हो इसके लिये दी गई तमाम दलीलें मैने पढी हैं, लेकिन ये सच है कि याकूब बेकसूर नहीं था। अगर कोई ये कहता है कि याकूब ने अपने भाई टाईगर के किये की सजा भुगती तो वो गलत है। याकूब अपने परिवार का सबसे पढा लिखा सदस्य था। उसे ये पता था कि उसका भाई मुंबई के लिये कैसी तबाही का इंतजाम कर रहा है। मेमन परिवार के और अपने भाई के कारोबार के बैंक खाते भी याकूब ही संभालता था और इन्हीं खातों के जरिये धमाकों की साजिश के लिये पैसों का लेनदेन हुआ। खुद याकूब के और परिवार के बाकी सदस्यों के धमाकों से पहले यानी कि 9 मार्च 1993 को मुंबई से भागने के हवाई टिकट इन खातों से खरीदे गये थे। याकूब चाहता तो खुद को अपने भाई की साजिश से अलग कर सकता था। वो पुलिस को भाई के खूनी इरादों की जानकारी पहुंचा सकता, लेकिन उसने ऐसा नहीं किया और मुंबई में 257 बेकसूर लोग मारे गये और 750 से ज्यादा लोग इस तरह घायल हुए हैं कि वो फिर पहले की तरह अपनी जिंदगी नहीं गुजार सकते। भारतीय न्याय व्यवस्था ने उसे अपना पक्ष रखने का पूरा मौका दिया। सु्प्रीम कोर्ट ने असमान्य तौर पर देर रात उसके लिये दरवाजे खोले। जब इंसाफ की सबसे बडी संस्था संतुष्ट हो गई कि याकूब माफी के लायक नहीं है तब ही उसे फांसीं पर लटकाया गया। मुझे पता नहीं कि जो लोग याकूब से सहानुभूति जता रहे हैं या उसके लिये आंसूं बहा रहे हैं, उनके ख्यालों में कभी बमकांड के शिकार बने लोग भी आये या नहीं। 1993 के बमकांड से मची तबाही मैने करीब से देखी है। उस दिन काथा बाजार में जिस जगह धमाका हुआ वहां से महज 300 मीटर के फासले पर मेरा पुराना घर था और मैं चंद मिनट पहले ही उस जगह के करीब से गुजरा था। जवेरी बाजार में जहां धमाका हुआ वहां मेरे मामा कुछ कदमों के फासले पर ही मौजूद थे और वे बाल बाल बचे। उन्होने अपने सामने जिस तरह से इंसानी शरीर को अनगिनत टुकडों में फटकर जलते देखा वे दृश्य याद करके आज भी उनकी रूह कांप उठती है। जो लोग कह रहे हैं कि याकूब अपने धर्म की वजह से बच नहीं पाया उन्हें ये भी जानना चाहिये कि आजाद भारत में फांसी पर लटकाये जाने वाले ज्यादातर लोग हिंदू रहे हैं। गांधी का हत्यारा नथुराम गोडसे भी कट्टर हिंदुत्ववादी सोच वाला ही शख्स था, जिसे फांसी दी गई थी।

कोई कहता है कि याकूब की फांसी के साथ मुंबई का बदला पूरा हुआ, कोई कहता है कि मारे गये लोगों के साथ इंसाफ हुआ है, लेकिन मैं उनसे सहमत नहीं हूं।12 मार्च 1993 की साजिश रचने वाले दाऊद इब्राहिम और टाईगर मेमन अब तक कानून की पहुंच से बाहर हैं। असली इंसाफ तब होगा जब ये दोनो फांसीं के फंदे पर झूलेंगे...लेकिन क्या कभी ये मुमकिन हो पायेगा? दाऊद का गुर्गा छोटा शकील तो याकूब के लटकाये जाने के बाद खुलेआम मीडिया को फोन करके धमकी देने की हिम्मत रखता है कि इसके गंभीर नतीजे होंगे।


बुधवार सुबह 6 बजे मैं सोकर उठा था। दिनभर मैने मुंबई में टाईगर मेमन पर बनाई जा रही डॉक्यूमंट्री पर काम किया और शाम 7 बजे की फ्लाईट से नागपुर निकल गया। रातभर नागपुर जेल के बाहर से मैं और गणेश ठाकुर सुबह याकूब की फांसीं होने के बाद तक लाईव करते रहे। विमान में बैठते वक्त मुझे लगातार जागे हुए 29 घंटे बीत चुके थे।मैने सोचा था कि नागपुर से मुंबई के करीब सवा घंटे के सफर के दौरान मैं थोडी देर सो लूंगा, लेकिन आंख बंद करने पर यही तमाम ख्याल आ रहे थे और मैं सो नहीं पाया। विमान के मुंबई में उतरते ही तमाम मुसाफिर उन सीट के पास दौड पडे जहां सुलेमान और उस्मान बैठे हुए थे और उनकी तस्वीरें निकालने लगे। हमारी वजह से इन मुसाफिरों को पता चल गया था कि दोनो याकूब मेमन के रिश्तेदार हैं। तमाम मुसाफिरों को इस बात का सुखद आश्चर्य था कि वे उस विमान से सफर कर रहे थे जिसमें देश के सबसे बडे आपराधिक मुकदमें के दोषी की लाश को फांसी देने के बाद मुंबई लाया जा रहा था। 

Tuesday, 21 July 2015

"What I felt while sentencing Yacoob Memon to be hanged till death!"- Inside the mind of a judge who gave death penalty to Yacoob Memon & sent Sanjay Dutt to jail.




He awarded capital punishment to 12 accused including 1993 Mumbai bombings accused Yacoob Memon.

He sentenced filmstar Sanjay Dutt 6 years of Jail.

He conducted one of the world's biggest criminal trial.

With a Z plus grade security, Justice Pramod Kode is one of the highest protected legal officer of India. He recently retired as a judge of Bombay High Court, before which he presided the high profile Special Tada Court of Mumbai.

Justice Kode entered into legal profession to fulfill his father's failed dream. His father aspired to be a lawyer but couldnt become one due to some reasons. Pramod Kode began his legal career in 1977 as a defence lawyer. When he won the first case for his clients, he happily rushed home to share this accomplishment with his wife. His clients were a married woman & his paramour. Both were accused of murdering the woman's husband. With his legal skills Kode managed to get them acquitted. When Kode told about this victory to his wife, she got enraged & gave him an earful for supporting wrongdoers to escape punishment.Wife's verbal bashing deeply affected Kode & he felt a sense of guilt. Kode gave up working as a defence lawyer & instead began working as a government lawyer in Legal Aid Cell. Once a judge for whom Kode had profound respect taunted that Kode was working as a lawyer just to make money. He must become a judge to serve the society. With his encouragement Kode cleared the formalities & was soon appointed as a judge in sessions court of Mumbai. In 1996 he took over as the judge of special TADA court which was conducting trial of 12 March1993 serial blasts in Mumbai.

I got an opportunity recently to spend few hours with Justice Kode at his residence in Sion, Mumbai. In a conversation with me he spoke to me about things which otherwise he would not have been able to while in judicial service. Here are the excerpts:

Me: You are one of the judges who have given maximum number of death penalities. However, if you look across the world, death penalty as a form of punishment is being abolished. Only few of the states in USA are continuing with death penalty. Europe has abolished it. There are voices in India also who oppose death penalty. Do you think that it should be continued in India? If yes then why?

Justice Kode: See Jitendra, in India capital punishment is awarded only in special cases & as per past judgements of the Supreme Court. I have trust on our national laws & these laws are evolving with the time. In today’s situation if our legal system feels that death penalty must be continued then I support it.

Me: So you support it for its deterrence value?
Justice Kode: Capital punishment is not just for deterrence. There are so many other reasons and I can talk on them for hours. I will only say that considering all the aspects when our parliament and Supreme Court say that death penalty is necessary then I don’t contest their stand. Hopefully, a time might come when people will care for other’s rights and then death penalty will not be required.

Me: Sentencing somebody to death is not an easy decision. In your career as a judge you gave death penalty to 12 accused. At such times how were you able to numb your natural human emotions?
Justice Kode: First of all giving punishment to guilty is the duty of a judge. Not only judge, but everybody has to face situation where they have to take decisions. If a person doesn’t get such situations, his life is useless. When it comes to giving death penalty then emotions don’t count. A judge gives death penalty only when he is convinced considering all the aspects. Society makes the law, but this is also true that law is also for the society. Hence, if a death penalty is given, it is for the society. Punishment is not given to a person, but to the criminal elements within him. When the apex court considers that this man is not worth living in a society then only his death penalty is executed. He is hanged only if Supreme Court is convinced that if he is kept alive then it is likely that he will harm the society.

Me: Yacoob Memon is also one of the accused whom you sentenced to death. While covering the trial in your court, I had observed that he was a very different kind of accused. He developed a personal connect with lawyers, court staff & you by his general behaviour and gestures like wishing on festivals like Holi & Diwali. He was also the most educated accused. You used to see him for hours everyday. Any special observations about him?
Justice Kode: For me an accused is an accused. Everyday I had 5 hours meaning only 360 minutes to work. Shall I work during this limited time or notice the behaviour of accused persons? However, to answer your question I would say yes…he was a well educated person and behaved accordingly. Other thing which I observed about him was that he was a person of great tenacity. He pursued his point with firmness. However, his behaviour didn’t affect my judgement. He got the punishment for the crime he committed.

Me: You had another high profile accused Sanjay Dutt. You sent him to jail for 6 years. I remember that at the time of announcing the sentence you said- “Keep on doing acting for 100 years. I have just taken 6 years out of them”. What made you say this?
Justice Kode: No doubt Sanjay Dutt was a celebrity, but he never attempted to use this status to gain considerations in my court. He came from a Khandani family (cultured family) and behaved like one. Once he complained to me that whenever the prosecution referred to him, he was called a traitor or a terrorist. He was quite upset due to this. At the time of announcing the verdict, I found that he was not involved in conspiracy, training, landing of explosives & planting of bombs. He was just guilty of keeping pistol illegally and that also due to threat to his family. Hence, I acquitted him under TADA saying that you are not a terrorist. He is a good actor. I have seen his movies, his father’s movies, his mother’s movies. I wanted him to continue his work. Considering his young age, he should not breakdown, hence, I said those words to encourage him.

Me: Do you regret that Dawood Ibrahim and Tiger Memon were not produced before you as accused?
Justice Kode: No. If they think that they are innocent, then they had a chance to stand the trial and get themselves freed from the charges. If they are not surrendering then it is clear what it means. I have full trust on Mumbai Police and CBI. They tried their best to get these accused but they have not been successful. They must not be blamed for it. Instead, they must be lauded for their professional work. They got most of the accused, filed such an elephantine chargesheet in a short time and got the accused punished.


Although, Justice Kode has retired as a judge, he takes up cases of arbitration. He spends his free time with his 2 daughters, one of them has taught him astrology. He is also a movie buff & likes to read Marathi novels. Some time is kept aside to praise God. Recently, he acted in a movie also where he played role of a –“Judge”.  

Friday, 10 July 2015

5 Reasons which make NDA look like UPA.


Now this one may invite a Tsunami of abuses & threats from the ‘Bhakts’ & trolls, who might not be aware that I am immune to their textual attacks. So here is what I have to say based not on any great research but on my simple observations. My blog pertains to the central government as well as BJP ruled states.

1-Corruption, Misuse of Office & Questionable Credentials of Minisiters.
Corruption was a big word which helped BJP achieve power at the centre & subsequently held elections in various states. By the end of its second tenure UPA government got marred by so many scams & controversies that its failure to return to power became easily predictable even for a layman. This mood was appropriately encashed by Narendra Modi who famously said – “Na Khaoonga, Na Khane Doonga” Now one year after Mr.Modi assumed power, we see:
-his finance minister Sushma Swaraj being accused of helping a fugitive Lalit Modi,
-his party’s chief minister in Rajasthan Vasundhara Raje Scindia showering favours to Lalit Modi,
-his HRD minister Smruti Irani being accused of providing false information about her education,
-his party’s minister in Maharashtra Pankaja Munde accused of scam worth Rs 206.

Apart from this, BJP’s decision to induct few leaders from rival parties just before Maharashtra assembly elections dents its claims against corruption. Ex ministers of NCP Babanrao Pachupute & Vijaykumar Gawit were accused of corruption & amassing disproportionate wealth. When in the opposition, BJP legislators even disrupted proceedings in the state assembly demanding action against them. However just before the state elections these 2 “corrupt” ministers were inducted in BJP.

2-Lies, lies & lies.
Apart from failing to provide corruption proof governments, BJP has been also caught lying more than once.
When ABP News questioned BJP chief Amit Shah about BJP’s prepoll announcement of getting back the black money from abroad & depositing Rs 15 lacs into the accounts of each Indian citizens, he said that it was just a “Chunavi Jumla” (an electoral phrase) & must not be taken literally.
Before parliamentary elections Modi urged voters to give him 5 years to change picture of the nation. On July 9, 2015 while addressing a gathering of BJP workers at Mumbai, Amit Shah contradicted Modi by saying that 5 years are not enough to change picture of the nation, they need to stay in power for a longer period.

A reference to Myanmar operation to avenge ambush on Army convoy in Manipur last June is also worth mentioning here. The government announced that Indian army crossed border & targeted militant camps inside the territory of Myanmar & killed many militants. However, this is not easy to digest, considering that the militant group has denied that any of its members was killed & no accurate official figures of killed militants have been provided by Indian government also.

3-Lack of checks on communal elements.
Several incidents of attacks on churches, few communal skirmishes & no control over the tongue of people like Sadhavi Prachi, Yogi Adityanath & Sakshi Maharaj are leading to an environment which makes minority communities of our nation feel insecure. During UPA’s rule the majority community felt that minorities were being appeased & majority community was being treated unfairly.

4-Power at any cost!
BJP’s Mission 44 failed in Jammu & Kashmir state assembly elections. In a hung assembly to form the government BJP had to join hands with either PDP or NC. BJP chose to form government with PDP which is ideologically opposed to it. Inspite of knowing that PDP has a soft corner for separatists and Pakistan, it opposes Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA) & dropping of Article 370, BJP chose to share power with it.

5-Modi’s Manmohan Avatar.
Before parliamentary elections, ex prime minister Manmohan Singh was ridiculed by BJP over his silence on serious issues. He was likened to “robot”, puppet”, “statue” etc by BJP leaders in their speeches. Now look at Narendra Modi. How is he behaving? Any difference between him & Manmohan Singh? Modi has kept mum on Sushma, Vasundhara, Smruti, Pankaja & most of his prepoll promises.


So this has been the image in my mind of BJP government at the centre & in various states where the party shares power. But this assessment is just of past one year’s performance and I hope that things will change as on hope the world survives. The views expressed here are solely of my own and not of the news organisation I am associated with.