Yakub Memon, who was convicted for helping finance the serial blasts in Mumbai in 1993 in which 257 people were killed, was hanged at the Nagpur Central Jail on Thursday morning at 7am.
Memon was hanged till death in the 'Fansi Yard' under supervision of Jail Superintendent Yogesh Desai.
He was woken up at 3.30 am on Thursday, permitted a warm bath and provided a set of fresh clothes hours ahead of his scheduled hanging. Arrangements to offer namaz and read the Holy Quran were made for him at the Nagpur central jail.
He was offered a breakfast of his choice and he then underwent a final medical examination prior to hanging.
Chief Judicial Magistrate of Nagpur M M Deshpande was present in the Fansi Yard.
She read out the operating part of the TADA court order which awarded capital punishment to Yakub before he was made to stand on a stool and the lever pulled by the hangman.
A team of doctors declared him dead after about half-and-hour of the scheduled hanging, when his body was brought down.
Yakub's brother Suleman and cousin Usman, who were camping in Nagpur since Wednesday, received the body which was being flown to Mumbai.
Memon's execution was carried out about two hours after his lawyers last-gasp plea to get the death warrant stayed was dismissed by the Supreme Court in an unprecedented hearing that began in the wee hours and ended at dawn.
Hanged with Manila rope from Bihar's Buxar Jail
MI Khan reports from Patna: Memon was hanged with a special rope -- called the ‘Manila rope’ -- supplied by Bihar's Buxar jail.
"This kind of rope is made only in the Buxar Jail. We have been providing the special rope, spun in the jail premises, to hang convicts across the country,” Buxar jail superintendent S K Choudhary said.
In 2005, a rope was sent from Buxar jail to New Delhi-based Tihar jail for hanging Mohammed Afzal Guru, facing execution for his role in the 2001 Parliament attack.
The same kind of rope was also used to hang Dhananjay Chatterjee, convited for raping and killing a 14-year-old, at the Alipore jail in Kolkata in 2004.
'Our messiah has gone'
In Mahim, where the family of 1993 Mumbai serial blasts convict Yakub Memon still stays, the mood is sombre and angry.
Residents speaking to Syed Firdaus Ashraf/Rediff.com told him not to take pictures.
"If you want pictures of the building, why don't you Google it?," a man said.
Talking about Yakub Memon, another resident said, "The messiah has gone. He is the man who fought for Muslims and look what they have done to him! He is an innocent man punished by Rajnath Singh [Union Home Minister]. He had the chance to save him, but he intentionally hanged him. President Pranab Mukherjee did not want him to hang, but the government insisted that Yakub should hang."
People, both men and women, stood in several large groups, near and around the Al Hussaini building. Many of them said they were waiting for Yakub's body to arrive in Mumbai from Nagpur so that they could be part of the janazaa (funeral ceremony).
While there are no incidents of violence, the police are not taking any chances. The entire area has been barricaded with hundreds of policemen in bulletproof vests stations all around. The Billabong school near Yakub's home, and all the shops around the Makhdoom Ali Mahimi dargah are closed today.
Tight security at Yakub Memon's home
Security has been tightened in Mumbai in view of Memon's execution.
Top police officers visited Mahim and reviewed the arrangements in the wee hours of Thursday.
Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis held a meeting with senior police officials last evening on security situation as well measures to be put in place.
In a statement later, he appealed to the people to maintain restraint and respect the legal process.
Quick Response Teams of police, formed after the 26/11 terrorist attacks, have been deployed at a few places, including the Al Hussaini building, where the Memon family lives.
Mumbai Police, which has not permitted Yakub's family to carry the body in a procession, has made all arrangements to perform the burial at a cemetery in Marine Lines in Mumbai.
"We have not permitted Yakub's family to reach the cemetery in any procession taking into account law and order situation and only those very close to the family would be taking part in his last rites," a senior police officer said.
"We have already gathered personal details of the people who would be with Yakub's family," he added.
Since Yakub's father Abdul Razzak was buried at the Marine Lines cemetery and some of his family members who passed away earlier were also buried there, hence Yakub's family has wished to perform his last rites there only, another police officer said.
Alternative arrangements have also been made for burial at the Mahim cemetery, he said.
Heavy police force has been deployed at the Marine Lines cemetery, where Memon is likely to be buried.
"We are monitoring and reviewing the security arrangements regularly," Mumbai Police spokesperson Dhananjay Kulkarni said.
Police has detained nearly 405 people as a preventive measure to maintain law and order in the wake of Yakub's hanging.
"All the people who are detained are on police record, who might disturb the communal harmony or create disturbance in the city," said DCP (Detection) Dhananjay Kulkarni.
Police are also keeping a close eye on any inflammatory statement by religious or political leaders and have warned of strict action against anyone violating law.
The burial will take place in a Muslim cemetery after the usual last prayer 'Namaj-e-Janaja' later in the day.
Image: A woman looks out of the window of Yakub Memon's house in Mahim, Mumbai. Photograph: Afsar Dayatar/Rediff.com