MUMBAI: Twenty-two years since he fled after masterminding one of the worst terror strikes India
has seen, Mumbai Police
have once again heard his voice. Mushtaq ‘Tiger’ Memon, one of India’s most wanted, rang up the Memon household on the family landline number just one-and-ahalf hours before his younger brother Yakub was to be hanged.
A Mumbai Police wing monitoring the number recorded the conversation between the fugitive and his mother in the early hours of July 30. ET has accessed a copy of the transcript of the purported conversation whose content has caused concern among police and security agencies.
According to the transcript, instead of grieving for his brother who was about to die, Tiger was talking about revenge in the conversation with his mother and another family member.
Mumbai Police officials listening in on the conversation have identified Tiger’s voice and are concerned about the prospect of retaliatory terror attacks as Tiger is heard promising his family that he would avenge Yakub’s death. The fact that a call from Tiger was intercepted was confirmed by officials from security agencies in Mumbai
However, Additional Chief Secretary (Home) KP Bakshi told ET he was not aware of the phone conversation between Tiger and his family. “Neither .. Neither the Maharashtra DGP (director general of police) nor the central agencies have given us any such report,” he said.
When asked about the conversation and the allegation that Tiger is still in touch with his family, Yakub’s lawyer Shyam Keswani said: “Please don’t drag me into this. I don’t want to comment.” ET dialled the Memon household’s number on which Tiger had called and sought to speak to his brother Suleiman. But a woman, presumably a member of the household, said the family didn’t want to speak to the media.
Mumbai Police Commissioner Rakesh Maria did not respond to a text message seeking comments. Tiger Memon and underworld don Dawood Ibrahim were the key conspirators behind the Mumbai blasts. The coordinated attacks across 13 locations in the city on March 12, 1993, claimed 257 lives.
On July 30, as Yakub was being prepared to be sent to the gallows, the phone in the Memon household at the Al Husseini building in Mahim rang at about 5.35 am. The Supreme Court had just 40 minutes earlier upheld the decision to hang Yakub.
An unidentified man from the Memon household answered the phone. People at both the ends seemed to be sure about each other’s identity, possibly indicating a regular channel of communication between Tiger and his family. There were no introductions. Soon after the greeting of “salam walaikum”, Tiger asks the unidentified man to hand the phone over to his mother, Hanifa.
The mother initially seems reluctant, as per the transcript, but the man at the Memon household insists that she should speak to “bhaijan”. Tiger repeatedly tells his mother that Yakub’s death will be avenged. “Main unko chukwaonga (I will make them pay).”
A distraught Hanifa is heard sobbing on the phone and asks Tiger to stop the violence. She says, “Bas ho gaya. Pehle ke vajah se mera Yakub gaya ab aur nahi main dekh sakti. (Stop this, due to the first incident, I have lost Yakub. Now I can’t bear to see any more people dying).” Hanifa Memon’s appeal, however, falls on deaf ears as Tiger repeats his revenge message.When Hanifa hands the phone over to the unidentified family member, Tiger promises him that the “tears of the family will not go waste”. Mumbai Police officials point out that the call was made using voice over Internet protocol (VOIP) facilities but they could not identify the Internet protocol (IP) address as the source of the call kept “bouncing” from one IP address to another. Read more at: