Mumbai, Oct 1: Former Inspector General (Prisons), Maharashtra Meeran Chadha Borwankar, who witnessed the hanging of 26/11 Mumbai attacks accused Ajmal Kasab and 1993 Mumbai blasts accused Yakub Memon, claimed that the biggest challenge in former’s case was the secrecy while, it was completely opposite during the proceedings of Memon’s hanging.

Borwankar, who on Saturday retired as Director General, Bureau of Police Research and Development, in an interview to The Sunday Express as quoted by The Indian Express, opened up about the challenges face during hanging of Ajmal Kasab in 2012 and Yakub Memon in 2015.

The only woman IPS officer in India to have witnessed hangings informed that Kasab, who was in custody of ITBP at the Arthur Road Jail in Mumbai, was transferred to Pune, for the execution, through the Mumbai-Pune Expressway without anyone knowing. From the prison department, an IG-rank officer was sent to lead the Crime Branch team that was handpicked to escort Kasab, which is very rare. She also spoke about how one journalist came to know about Kasab’s transfer who later contacted Rakesh Maria (former Mumbai Police Commissioner). She added that the media didn’t have any information about Kasab’s hanging which was a big relief.

She also spoke about how the tension elevated when Kasab had to be kept at Yerwada for a day, during which the team that had escorted him was put in quarantine for almost 36 hours.

She even termed all the media reports on Kasab’s ‘last words and wishes’ mere speculations while informing that his last rites were performed, as per his religion, after he was hanged on November 21. Borwankar also opened up about how the Pakistan High Commission refused to accept his body by saying that he was not their citizen.

Borwankar was again called for a similar operation two-and-a-half years later for the execution of 1993 Mumbai blast case convict Yakub Memon in July 2015 in Nagpur. She was serving as the ADG (Prisons), Maharashtra back then. As per the report, she said that the proceedings of Memon’s execution was opposite to that of Kasab’s. “Secrecy was maintained on priority during Kasab’s hanging and the eyes of the entire country was on us during Memon’s execution,” she reportedly said.

The report quotes her sharing the difference in the demeanour of Kasab and Memon. She told The Sunday Express how she was amazed at the composure of Yakub Memon when she met him at Nagpur Central Jail before the hanging. She also informed that the same team of officials, who were involved in the execution of Kasab, were called in for Memon’s hanging too.

Recalling all the happenings that made this case a dramatic one, Borwankar spoke about how the family of Memon was active and even claimed that they would get a stay from the court. However, early in the morning, the officials were informed that the Supreme Court, that worked past midnight, had rejected Memon’s mercy plea. In the interview to The Sunday Express, Borwankar also speaks about how Memon, when asked about whether he had given something to his wife and daughter in the will or not, replied, “Yes, I have. They are my two eyes. I have given them only.”

Borwankar was also quoted as saying that when the government asked her to supervise the two hangings, she didn’t take a step back and managed to remain present for both the executions. “I did not want people to comment on my gender and say that I couldn’t take up the responsibility because I am a woman,” she said.