Bakery blast accused convicted

Bakery blast accused convicted

Punishment to lone conspirator to be pronounced on April 18

Bakery blast accused convicted

Three years after the German Bakery blast that left 17 dead and over 60 injured, a sessions court in Pune on Monday held Himayat Baig, the lone arrested conspirator, guilty in the case.

Delivering the judgment, Additional Sessions Judge N P Dhote said Baig would be sentenced for murder, criminal conspiracy, attempt to murder, forgery and other crimes. He said the quantum of punishment would be fixed on April 18.

Baig has been convicted under Sections 302, 307, 435, 474, 153(A), 120(B) of the IPC and the Explosives Act. He may be awarded death sentence as well as a long imprisonment.

The other suspects in the case, the elusive Yasin Bhatkal, Mohsin Choudhary, Riyaz Bhatkal and Iqbal Bhatkal, reportedly members of Indian Mujahideen, along with suspected LeT operative Faiyaz Kagzi, are still at large.

Strangely enough, despite naming Zaibuddin Ansari aka Abu Jundal in its 2,500-page charge sheet, the Anti-Terrorism Squad (ATS) has not arrested him in the case. Jundal was deported from Saudi Arabia and taken into custody in Delhi in June 2012 in connection with the 26/11 Mumbai attacks.

As per the charge sheet, Jundal had trained Baig, a resident of Maharashtra’s Beed district, in manufacturing bombs in Sri Lankan capital Colombo. He had also borne expenses of Baig’s travel and given him cash to purchase chemicals needed for making explosive devices.

Throughout the trial, the defence lawyer sought to stress that the evidence furnished to substantiate the Colombo connection was “flimsy”. However, the court dismissed the defence’s argument and agreed with the prosecution that the blast was the result of a “carefully planned and executed attack calculated to terrorise the public in general by causing extensive damage to life and property and the primary objective was to undermine and reduce faith of the common citizen in the elected government and destabilise the system of law.”

Baig, the alleged chief of LeT’s Maharashtra unit, was taken into custody by the ATS from his Global Cyber Cafe shop in Udgir town in Latur district. Soon after his arrest, the ATS claimed to have recovered 1,200 kg of explosives at his instance.

It also claimed that the bomb that ripped apart the German Bakery was assembled in Global Cyber Cafe with the help of Yasin Bhatkal and Mohsin Choudhary. The trio later left for Pune and Yasin planted the bomb at the famous eating joint on February 13.

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