German Bakery blast: HC reserves order on death sentence accused

The Bombay High Court has reserved its judgement on the confirmation of death sentence awarded to Himayat Baig, the lone convict in the 2010 German Bakery blast case.

The arguments before the bench of Justices Naresh Patil and S B Sukhare ended yesterday. The Pune sessions court had in April 2013 sentenced Baig to death for the blast at the German Bakery eatery in the Koregaon Park area of Pune in February 2010 which claimed 17 lives and left 58 people including some foreigners injured.

While a death sentence has to be confirmed by the HC, Baig has also filed appeal against the conviction and the sentence. The confirmation petition and the appeal were heard simultaneously by the High Court.

Special prosecutor Raja Thakre argued that there was enough circumstantial evidence to form a complete chain of events leading to the blast, and the testimony of witnesses was corroborated by the documentary evidence which was not disputed.

The defence didn't dispute the chemical analyser's report confirming that traces of the explosive substance RDX found at Baig's house and that found at the Bakery chemically matched. A Delhi forensic laboratory where CBI had sent samples and the one in Pune where the ATS had earlier sent the samples reached the same conclusion, Thakre pointed out.

Baig's lawyer Mahmood Pracha argued that the lawyer who defended Baig in the trial court had been 'thrust' upon him by the ATS which had concocted the whole case." Pracha demanded a retrial, or a recall of two witnesses who had alleged that they were forced to depose against Baig.

Baig was not in Pune on the day of the blast but in Aurangabad, advocate Pracha said, adding that the `RDX' showed as recovered at Baig's behest was not proved to be an explosive substance. He also alleged dicrepancies in documents including the station diary that recorded the finding of RDX.

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