German Bakery blast: Main accused Himayat Baig convicted by Pune court
A Pune court today found German Bakery blast prime accused Himayat Baig, an Indian Mujahideen operative, guilty for his role in the terror attack which left 17 people dead, officials said.
Pune Sessions Court Special Judge M P Dhote delivered the verdict before a packed courtroom today morning.
Judge N P Dhote held Baig, a resident of Beed district in Maharashtra, guilty under sections 302 (murder), 307 (attempt to murder), 435 (mischief by fire or explosive substances), 474 (forgery), 153(A) (promoting enmity between different groups on ground of religion, race, place of birth, language and doing acts prejudicial to maintenance of harmony) and 120(B) (criminal conspiracy) of IPC.
He was also convicted under various sections of Unlawful Activities Prevention Act and Explosive Substances Act.
Special Judge Dhote will pronounce the quantum of sentence for Baig April 18.
A powerful bomb had exploded at the German Bakery, a popular eatery also frequented by foreigners, on February 13, 2010, which left 17 dead and 64 injured, in first terror attack in Pune. Among the dead were five foreigner national.
It was also the first major terror strike after the 26/11 Mumbai attacks in 2008.
The Maharashtra Police's Anti-Terrorism Squad had arrested Baig from a bus stand in Pune in September 2010.
The ATS had filed a charge sheet in the case on December 4, 2010 against Baig and six others including Zabiuddin Ansari alias Abu Jundal, one of the handlers of 26/11 terrorists, Fayyaz Kagzi, Yasin Bhatkal, Iqbal Bhatkal, Riyaz Bhatkal and Mohsin Chaudhari. Jundal, however, has not been shown arrested in this case, while all others are absconding.
Lashkar-e-Taiba operative David Headley, in his testimony before a US court in the trial of his accomplice Tahawwur Rana, had admitted that he had recced and taken photographs of the popular hang-out in Pune.
Meanwhile, Baig's counsel Abdul Rahman has said he would move the High Court against the verdict.
"Definitely, I am going to appeal in the High Court. I am sure I will get justice from the High Court," he told reporters after the judgement.
Rahman said justice had not been done to Baig as he was not present in Pune at the time of the blast nor had he gone to German Bakery to plant the bomb.
He said the key conspirators in the case had not been arrested and Abu Jundal, named in the charge sheet, was not even brought to the court.
"Police has shown Jundal as one of the conspirators in this case but he was not brought to the court...it is unfortunate," he said, adding, "more than one person is required for a conspiracy."
"It is the allegation of the police that conspiracy took place in (Sri) Lanka between Fayyaz Kagzi and Mohsin Chaudhari.
It is unfortunate that none of the police officers or investigating officer visited Lanka to find out at which place the conspiracy had taken place. That part remains to be proved by the police," he said.