From the start, probe into German Bakery blast mired in controversyhttps://indianexpress.com/article/cities/pune/from-the-start-probe-into-german-bakery-blast-mired-in-controversy/

From the start, probe into German Bakery blast mired in controversy

Several loopholes came to fore with top ATS officer making a claim and then retracting it; ‘lack of substantial proof of Baig receiving terror training in Colombo’.

 German Bakery blasts, german bakery, german bakery case, bombay high court, baig, Himayat Baig, ATS, german bakery prove, jewish chabbad house, latest news, german bakery case updates
Mirza Himayat Baig (green shirt), held guilty in German Bakery blast, was convicted in April 2013. Express File photo

Probe into the German Bakery blast was mired in controversy right from the time when the state ATS arrested Mirza Himayat Baig. On February 13, 2010, a high intensity blast took place at the bakery, located opposite the Jewish Chabbad House in Koregaon Park area of Pune, leaving 17 people dead and 64 others injured. On September 7, 2010, the ATS arrested Baig from Pulgate area of Pune for his alleged involvement in the blast.

ATS officer claims Baig was not in Pune on blast day A few days after Baig’s arrest, while speaking to the media in Udgir, the then deputy inspector general of police (ATS) Ravindra Kadam said he was not in Pune on the day of the blast. Kadam said that Baig assembled explosives with Mohsin Choudhary and Yasin Bhatkal at the Global Internet Cafe in Udgir, but did not come to Pune on the day of blast. Kadam said that Moshin and Yasin carried the bomb to Pune. Later, Kadam retracted and gave clarification that it was a misunderstanding on his part and that Baig was in Pune on the day of blast. Meanwhile, Baig claimed that ATS arrested him from Latur on August 19, 2010.

IM operative who held bakery recce didn’t reveal Baig’s name

IM operative Mohammed Qateel Siddqui was arrested on November 2011 by Delhi police. Siddqui’s interrogation by Delhi police and later by Bangalore police revealed that he conducted a reccee of the German Bakery along with Yasin Bhatkal. Qateel did not named Baig at all. Later, Siddqui was arrested by Maharashtra ATS for his alleged plan to bomb the Dagdusheth Ganpati temple on Feburary 13, 2010, same day when German Bakery blast took place. However, Siddqui was murdered by Pune gangster Sharad Mohol at the Yerwada jail in June 2012. Meanwhile, the National Investigation Agency (NIA) took over the probe in bakery blast case and the trail began in High Court. NIA too did not name Baig as an accused in this case.

[related-post]

‘No proof of Baig’s terror training in Colombo’

Advertising

ATS alleged that LeT operatives Jundal and Ansari gave terror training to Baig in Colombo in March 2008. But Baig told the court that he went to Colombo for business. Baig told the court that he had some ready made garments and perfumes from Kharghar in Mumbai. “Then I went to Chennai and from there to Colombo. I sold these items for a few days at Negombo beach in Colombo. But it did not earn much..I also could not get a job in Colombo due to language hurdles. So I returned to India with the remaining unsold items…I had the receipts of items purchased. But the ATS did not produce it in the court,” he said. Baig’s lawyer argued in sessions court that ATS team never visited Colombo and failed to submit any evidence of his alleged terror training. Lawyer said, “Baig’s passport shows that he visited Colombo. Form this ATS concluded that he went there for terror training. But Baig had gone to Colombo in search of a job.”

Baig seen in Aurangabad on the day of German Bakery blast

During the trial, a witness in the German Bakery cases told the court that he saw Baig in Aurangabad around 8.30 pm and 10.30 pm, on February 13, 2010, the day when the bakery was bombed. The witness stated that Yusuf came to his house in Aurangabad on February 12, 2010 to give two cell phones. “Yusuf said he had taken money from few persons who are now demanding it back and harassing him. Yusuf asked me to keep the cell phones on, receive the calls and tell the callers that he has gone out…..On February 13, 2010 Yusuf again came between 10 pm and 10.30 pm for taking his cell phones back. When I asked Yusuf why was he so tired, he said that he travelled a long away on motorbike to reach here… Later whenever we met, he spoke about Jehad,” the witness said. ATS said that Baig kept his cell phones at Aurangabad on February 12 and 13, 2010, to project he was present there when the blast took place in Pune.

Also, an autorickshaw driver had deposed that he ferried Yasin and Baig from Pune railway station and dropped him at Central Mall around 4.15 pm on February 13.

The Wanted ‘terror operatives’ in German Bakery blast

Riyaz Ismail Shahabandari alias Riyaz Bhatkal: Resident of Fatima Manzil, Tanjina Gundi, Cross Madina Colony, Bhatkal, Karnataka. He is an alleged founder of Indian Mujahideen. Wanted in German Bakery blast and also in J M Road serial blasts. He motivated several Pune youths to join IM.

Iqbal Ismail Shahabandari alias Iqbal Bhatkal: Resident of Fatima Manzil, Tanjina Gundi, Cross Madina Colony, Bhatkal, Karnataka. He is alleged co-founder of Indian Mujahideen. Wanted in German bakery blast and in J M Road blasts.

Fayyaz Kagzi alias Zulfikar Fayyaz Ahmed: Resident of Shahenshah Nagar, Beed. He is allegedly a top operative of Lashkar -e- Toiba (LET). Wanted in German Bakery blast and also in J M Road serial blasts. He motivated the Pune youths to join IM.

Mohsin Chowdhary: Resident of Kondhwa, Pune. He is allegedly a member of Indian Mujahideen. Wanted in German Bakery blast. Close aide of suspects allegedly associated with IM’s media cell busted in Pune by Mumbai police in connection with serial blasts in different parts of the country.

How events unfolded

February 13, 2010 : A high-intensity blast occurred at the German Bakery in Koregaon Park, located close to the Jewish Chabbad house.

September 7, 2010: ATS arrested Mirza Himayat Baig from Pulgate bus stand.

November 8, 2011: Trial in German Bakery blast case began before additional sessions judge N P Dhote in Shivajinagar district and session court, Pune.

December 4, 2010: ATS filed charge sheet against Baig along with six others.

June 25, 2012 : Zabiudding Ansari alias Abu Jundal, named in the blast and also a prime accused in 26/11 terror attack deported from Saudi Arabia to India.

April 18, 2013: Court awards death sentence to Baig, holding him guilty under sections 10 (b), 16 (1)(a) of Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA), section 302 (murder), section 120 (b) (for criminal conspiracy) of Indian Penal Code (IPC) and section 3 of Explosives Substances Act.

August 29, 2013: Yasin Bhatkal arrested on India – Nepal border

March 14, 2014: ATS arrests Yasin Bhatkal in German Bakery blast case

August 7, 2014: ATS filed supplementary charge sheet against Yasin in Pune court

Advertising

March 17, 2016: The Bombay HC quashes death penalty awarded to Baig in the bakery blast due to lack of evidence, but confirms life sentence for possession of explosives.