Meanwhile, eminent lawyer Ram Jethmalani and leaders from four political parties were among around 200 people who yesterday urged President Pranab Mukherjee to reconsider Memon's mercy plea.

The signatories included BJP's Shatrughan Sinha, Congress's Mani Shankar Aiyer, CPI-M leader Sitaram Yechury, CPI's D Raja, actor Naseeruddin Shah, filmmaker Mahesh Bhatt, activist Tushar Gandhi, lawyer Vrinda Grover and economist Jean Dreze.

Memon had moved the Apex Court contending that the death warrant for his execution was issued before he could have exhausted the legal remedies available to him and when his curative petition was pending consideration by the court.

The Apex Court on July 21 rejected Memon's curative petition saying it was void of merit. On the same day, Memon filed a mercy petition before the Maharashtra governor seeking commutation of his death sentence to life imprisonment.

Bollywood superstar Salman Khan came out against the death penalty, saying Yakub Memon should not be punished for his brother Tiger's crime. However, yesterday, he apologised for his tweet, but said he stood by what he had said earlier.

AIMIM chief Asaduddin Owaisi also sparked a row by saying Memon was being hanged because he belonged to a particular religion while the death sentences of those convicted in the assassination of former prime minister Rajiv Gandhi were commuted to life imprisonment.

In response, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) said efforts were being made to give communal colour to the death penalty to Memon and asked people not to question the court verdict.

Interestingly, an article by former RAW officer B Raman, which came to light recently, had him opposing the death sentence to Memon stating that he was arrested in Kathmandu on the condition that he would not be hanged. In return, Memon would help the Indian agencies in exposing Pakistan's role in the blasts.

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