In German Bakery blast case, SC grants leave to state

Mumbai, Dec 11 (NIE): On Monday, the Maharashtra state was granted leave by the Supreme Court against the 2016 Bombay High Court order, in which it had acquitted Mirza Himayat Inayat Baig — the lone convict in the 2010 German Bakery blast — of all the terror charges and most of the charges under the Indian Penal Code (IPC).

In March 2016, the high court had acquitted Baig of terror charges under the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA) and charges of murder, attempt to murder and criminal conspiracy under the IPC, while it had confirmed his conviction under the Explosive Substances Act and had handed him life imprisonment.

As many as 17 people died and over 50 were injured in the blast that took place in the evening of February 12, 2010.

In April 2013, when he was being awarded the death sentence, Baig had wept in the court in Pune, pleading innocence and saying he was “the 18th victim of the blast”. The Maharashtra ATS had claimed that he was the blast ‘mastermind’ of the terror attack.

The Maharashtra state filed a Special Leave Petition in this regard, in which the leave was granted by the bench of Justices Dr DY Chandrachud and M R Shah, said Nishant Katneshwarkar, Maharashtra Standing Counsel in the Supreme Court. He added that the defence lawyers in the case had also moved the apex court for dropping the charges under the Explosive Substances Act and also for his bail.

Baig, now 38, belongs to a lower-middle class family from Kamwada in Maharashtra’s Beed district. An Arts graduate from Beed, he had pursued a DEd from a college in Pune’s Azam Campus from 2003 to 2005. After completing his education, Baig moved to Udgir in Latur, where he had reportedly started an Internet cafe.

According to the Maharashtra Anti-Terrorism Squad, it arrested Baig from Pulgate area in Pune on September 7, 2010 and had recovered 1.2 kg of RDX — allegedly a leftover of the bakery attack ammunition — from his Udgir residence on the same day.

The ATS also named six others as accused — alleged Indian Mujahideen operatives Riyaz Bhatkal, Iqbal Bhatkal, Yasin Bhatkal and Mohsin Choudhary, and alleged Lashkar-e-Toiba terrorists Fayyaz Kagzi and Zabiuddin Ansari, alias Abu Jundal. In its December 2010 chargesheet, the ATS said Baig had recced the German Bakery on January 31, 2010 after being told to do so by Yasin Bhatkal and Mohsin Choudhary, who met him in Udgir earlier that month. Baig remains the only accused arrested in the German Bakery case till now, and is currently lodged in the Nashik Central jail.

Speaking to The Indian Express from Beed, Baig’s elder brother Tariq said, “We maintain that Baig has been wrongly framed in the case and has been languishing behind the bars. The high court has acquitted him of all terror charges and most other offences. We have faith in our judicial system.”