THE DEFENCE counsel of Himayat Baig, the lone accused in the German Bakery blasts case, Monday chose to prove that the financial transaction claims against his client were not true. He pointed to the signature specimens of the convict taken after his arrest, and informed the court that they did not match with the signatures of a bank account holder that, according to the prosecution, Baig had allegedly forged to misuse for ‘terrorist activities’.
Justices N H Patil and S B Shukre were hearing Baig’s appeal against his death sentence. Baig was convicted by a Pune Sessions Court for “masterminding” a blast in the popular Koregaon Park eatery German Bakery in February 2010. The blast had killed 17 people and injured several others.
Baig’s counsel Mehamood Pracha said the police had recorded Baig’s handwriting and signature specimens on September 20, 2010, fifteen days before they actually received the original slips from the bank that Baig had made transactions from.
“One of the main circumstances to prove his involvement in the blasts was the ATM card of Abdul Rehman, a friend of the accused. But the police had taken his handwriting specimen without the receipts from the bank.
The senior police inspector of Aurangabad Anti-Terrorism Squad had sent a request to two of the bank’s branches on October 4 and 5, 2010, for the transaction slips and received them the following day,” Pracha said.
The defence read out the panch witness’ statement that “on September 20, 2010, Baig was asked to write numbers 0-9 six times on different sheets, then put his signatures on them, followed by his name. The officer dictated what was written on the slips which were of State Bank of Hyderabad. I could not read the name of the account holder or the amount, there were seven slips in total.”
The defence pointed that the handwriting expert had stated that the specimen of handwriting of the accused and Rehman taken and identified the panchnama and specimen of handwriting in that respect.
Further in the remand report dated September 28, 2010, there is a reference about taking specimen handwriting of the accused.
“As such because of absence of proper and adequate common identifying characteristics/data for comparison, it has not been made possible to lead any definite opinion as regards the identity or otherwise of the aforesaid questioned and standard signatures,” the defence read out the findings of the expert in court.
The defence further pointed out the trial court judgement which had not taken Sheikh’s testimony on evidence as the judge said that “it is limited only in respect of taking the specimen handwriting of the accused. His testimony is not affected by any means. There is no mention of the signatures not matching in the judgement,” Pracha said.