The family of Himayat Baig, the German Bakery blast suspect, whose death sentence was recently commuted to life imprisonment by the Bombay High Court, has complained that despite the court relief, he is still lodged in the Phansi Yard of Nagpur Central Prison in solitary confinement when he should have been shifted to different yards where he could mingle with other inmates.
Baig, the lone convict in the 2010 German Bakery blast who was handed the death sentence by a Pune court in 2013, was acquitted of all terror charges by the Bombay High Court in March but, at the same time, found himself guilty of the charge of possession of explosives and confirmed life imprisonment on that count.
When the Bombay High Court was hearing the final arguments, Baig was moved from Nagpur Prison to Mumbai’s Arthur Road Prison following his request that he wanted to be in Mumbai so that he could interact more with his lawyers. Post the judgment, he was shifted back to Nagpur.
“After being shifted back to Nagpur jail, he’s lodged again in the Phansi Yard, which is reserved for the death penalty convicts. He told me that being in the Phansi Yard is not only mentally tiring but is affecting his health too. We are of the opinion that since all the serious charges against him have been dropped and he’s been proven innocent of terror, murder and conspiracy charges, he should be lodged like a normal convict so that he can have a social interaction with others,” said Tariq.
Seventeen people died and over 50 were injured in the blast that happened on February 13, 2010. Soon after he was convicted by the Special Court in Pune for engineering the blasts, key witnesses had moved applications in the matter, saying they were “coerced” into giving statements against Baig during the trial.
In addition, AAP leader Ashish Khetan had moved an application, claiming he had carried out a sting operation on these witnesses which revealed they were “coerced” and “tutored” by the Maharashtra ATS to give testimony. Maharashtra Prison Department officials couldn’t be contacted for a comment despite all efforts.