‘Ferried Baig,tall boy from railway station to mall’

Deposing in the German Bakery blast case,an auto-rickshaw driver on Saturday told the court that on the day of the blast,he had ferried Mirza Himayat Inayat Baig and a “tall,fair boy wearing a cap” whose CCTV grab he had seen in a Marathi daily.

Written by AADITI JATHAR LAKADE | Published:October 7, 2012 4:21 am

Deposing in the German Bakery blast case,an auto-rickshaw driver on Saturday told the court that on the day of the blast,he had ferried Mirza Himayat Inayat Baig and a “tall,fair boy wearing a cap” whose CCTV grab he had seen in a Marathi daily.

He told the court he dropped them at Pune Central Mall. He had identified Baig,the lone arrested suspect in the case,in an identification parade earlier.

According to the ATS chargesheet,Baig and absconding suspect Yasin Bhatkal alias Ahmed Siddibappa,had travelled on the day of the blast in an autorickshaw to Pune Central Mall.

The rickshaw driver (not named) was called as a witness on Saturday before additional sessions judge N P Dhote.

During examination by special public prosecutor Raja Thakare,the driver said he was waiting outside Pune railway station at 4 pm on February 13,2010. “Two persons aged between 28 and 31 years asked me to drop them at Rajneesh Ashram. I started driving via Jehangir Hospital and Ruby Hall Clinic towards Koregaon Park. I was about to take a right turn to Koregaon Park,when the two asked me to head straight to Bundgarden instead of turning right. They stopped me near Pune Central Mall. It was around 4.15 pm. I told them Koregaon Park was ahead,but they alighted near the mall. One of them was tall and fair,wore a cap and carried two sacks. The other did not carry any baggage and paid me the fare. Both stood near the mall. I got another passenger and left,” the driver told the court.

During his cross-examination by defence lawyer A Rehman and Kaynat Ali Shaikh,the driver said he only remembers the “tall and fair boy wearing cap” published in a Marathi daily on May 25,2010,and had no idea of his name.

The rickshaw driver told the court he approached police after seeing the photo. A photocopy of the paper was produced in court and Baig’s lawyer Rehman said,“The caption of the photo reads ‘Abdul Samad’.”

The rickshaw driver said that on May 25,2010,he saw the photo. “I recollected he was the same tall and fair boy who was carrying two sacks whom I dropped near Pune Central Mall on February 13. I got scared and was thinking whether I should approach police to tell them I ferried the person in my autorickshaw. After thinking for two days,I approached the ATS office in Shivajinagar and told them about the incident,” he said in his deposition.

The ATS chargesheet states: “Wanted accused Ahmed Siddibappa (alias Yasin Bhatkal) and arrested accused Himayat Baig travelled from Poolgate bus stand to Pune railway station in a rickshaw and from Pune railway station to Central Mall in a different rickshaw. Siddibappa proceeded to the German Bakery at approximately 5 pm and planted the bomb kept in a haversack. The bomb exploded at 6.50 pm killing 17 and injuring 56.”

The driver had identified Baig on October 3,2010 at an identification parade Yerawada Central prison.

Another witness who ran computer classes for school students in Nanded had also identified ‘Hasan Sir’ alias Baig who had agreed to teach students in his class.

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