Bombay High Court orders transfer of Pune bakery blast convict to Nagpur jail

The Bombay High Court asked Maharashtra government on Monday to transfer Himayat Baig, the lone convict in the 2010 German Bakery blast case, currently lodged in Yerwada prison in Pune, to a prison in Nagpur.

The order was passed by a bench headed by Justice V M Kanade who heard a petition filed by Baig who claimed he feared a threat to his life in the Yerwada prison. The court also ordered the Pune Jail Superintendent to ensure Baig's safety until he is transferred to Nagpur jail.

Baig, who has been sentenced to death, was lodged at the Arthur Road jail in Mumbai but was shifted to Yerwada Jail
last year since the High Court was yet to take up the hearing of his appeal against conviction in the 2010 Pune German Bakery blast case.

Baig's appeal against the death sentence is pending before the High Court and whenever it comes up for hearing, he
would be shited to Mumbai's Arthur Road jail from Nagpur jail, his lawyer said. Baig's counsel, Mehmood Pracha, filed an application seeking transfer of his client back to Arthur Road Jail on the ground that he feared a threat to his life in Yerwada Jail.

Maharashtra government argued that convicts could be lodged either in Yerwada prison or the Nagpur jail. Earlier, the High Court had asked Additional Director General of Police (Prisons) to state whether shifting Baig to some other prison was possible.

In an affidavit, Yerwada Jail Superintendent Yogesh Desai said that Baig is safer in Yerwada jail because several gangsters and terror-accused are lodged in Arthur Road Jail. "The high security Mumbai Central Prison is already overburdened. There is hardly any scope for segregation of prisoners who cannot be kept together," Desai said. "Baig has been lodged at the high security cell (in Yerwada Jail) where there is no danger to his life at all," Desai said.

In his plea, Baig had claimed that co-accused Qateel Siddique was murdered inside Yerwada Jail by some inmates in August 2012 and that he too could meet the same fate. On February 13, 2010, a bomb had exploded at German Bakery, an eatery in Pune's posh Koregaon Park area, killing 17 people, including five foreigners, and injuring another 58 people.

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