Alleged operative and founder of the Indian Mujahideen (IM) terror group, Yasin Bhatkal alias Mohammed Ahmad Mohammed Jarar Siddibappa alias Shivananad, was produced before a special court in Pune Monday morning for framing of charges against him in the German Bakery bomb blast case.
Yasin is one of the key accused arrested by the state Anti Terrorist Squad (ATS) in connection with the blast which took place on February 13, 2010, leaving 17 dead and 56 injured.
A team of Delhi police brought Yasin to Pune from Tihar Jail and produced him before the special judge K D Vadane around 11.30 am in presence of ATS officials and tight police security. The court read out the charges framed against Yasin under sections 302, 307, 326, 325, 324, 427, 120 (b), 467, 468, 474, 153 (a), 109, 34 of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) and sections of the Indian Explosives Substances Act and sections of the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA). Yasin, however, rejected the charges against him and pleaded not guilty before the court.
Meanwhile, assistant commissioner of police Vireshwar Malik of Delhi police submitted an application before the court that Yasin is an accused in various blasts across the country and due to security reasons, be allowed to be produced for court trial in German Bakery blast case via video conferencing. “Considering his antecedents, it is of paramount risk to take him all the way from Delhi to Pune for producing before the honourable court. There is every apprehension of his own terrorist group or an anti-group or any other fundamentalist attacking him,” stated the application filed by Delhi police. The application will be heard on June 15.
The first arrest in the German Bakery bomb blast case was that of Mirza Himayat Baig of Beed district on September 7, 2010. ATS claimed to have found about 1.2 kg RDX from Baig’s residence in Udgir.
ATS had further named six others including Indian Mujahideen commanders Riyaz Bhatkal, Iqbal Bhatkal, Yasin Bhatkal, Mohsin Choudhari, LeT commanders Fayyaz Kagzi and Zabiuddin Ansari alias Abu Jundal, as accused in this case. Abu Jundal is also a key operative in 26/11 terror attack case. According to the ATS, Yasin Bhatal is seen in the CCTV footage obtained from the blast site. Also, during the probe, police had recovered a voter ID card with Baig’s photograph which had the name of an Udgir resident Shaikh Khayyum Ayub.
In December 2010, the ATS filed a chargesheet against Baig, and on April 18, 2013, the sessions court in Pune awarded death sentence to Baig in this case. However, on March 17, 2016, the Bombay high court, while setting aside death sentence for Baig, granted him life term, holding him guilty under Section 5(b) of the Explosive Substances Act. Baig was not named as accused by the National Investigation Agency (NIA) that took over the probe in the bakery blast case.
Meanwhile, in June 2012, the accused Zabiudding Ansari alias Abu Jundal, was deported from Saudi Arabia to India. And in August 2013, Yasin Bhatkal was arrested at India–Nepal border. In March 2014, ATS formally arrested Yasin in German Bakery blast case and filed a supplementary chargesheet against him in August same year.
Yasin’s lawyer had brought it to the notice of the judge that hearing in the bakery blast case was stalled and postponed on several occasions because he was not produced in the court since August 2014. The court had then directed the ATS to produce Yasin for the procedure of framing of charges.
After Yasin was produced before the court Monday, his advocate Zaheerkhan Pathan said, “The process of framing of charges is over now and the trial will begin. We will submit our say on Delhi police application regarding production of Yasin Bhatkal for trial via video conferencing on June 15.” Yasin was later taken back to Tihar jail in Delhi.