Of the 17 killed in the blast that brought Pune on the terror radar for the first time, five were foreigners. (PTI/File)
The lone accused to be arrested and tried in the 2010 German Bakery blast case, Himayat Baig, was found guilty by a special court at Pune on Monday. The court will pronounce the sentence on April 18.
Baig, now 31 years old, was found guilty of conspiring and planting the bomb at Pune’s well-known eating joint German Bakery on February 13, 2010 which resulted in the death of 17 persons and injuries to 64.
Additional sessions judge N P Dhote held Baig guilty under various sections of the Indian Penal Code - section 302 (murder), section 307 (attempt to murder), section 435 (mischief by fire or explosive substances), 474 (forgery), 153(A) (promoting enmity between different groups and doing acts prejudicial to maintenance of harmony) and 120 (B) (criminal conspiracy).
Baig was nabbed by the Maharashtra Anti-Terrorism Squad (ATS) on September 7, 2010 from Udgir in Beed district where he had been running an internet centre with an assumed name Hasan.
The ATS named LeT operatives Yasin Bhatkal, Mohsin Chaudhary, Riyaz Bhatkal, Iqbal Bhatkal, Fayyaz Kazgi and Zabiuddin Ansari alias Abu Jundal in the case apart from Baig. Barring Jundal, who has been arrested as one of the handlers in the 26/11 Mumbai terror attacks case, all others are absconding.
Baig’s lawyers had all the way contested the prosecution case that Baig had planted the bomb by claiming that Baig was not in Pune but at Aurangabad on the day of the blast. Defence counsel Abdul Rehman said they would challenge the verdict before the High Court. “How can there be conspiracy with just one person on trial? Why the other accused, Abu Jundal, has not been produced for the trial?” asked Rehman.
The court accepted the prosecution’s contention that it was a “carefully planned and executed attack calculated to terrorise the public in general by causing extensive damage to life and property and that the primary objective was to undermine and reduce faith of the common citizen in the elected government and destabilize the system of law”.
The judge also upheld the prosecution charge that the terror attack was specially designed to cause damage to the lives of foreign nationals visiting the country and its reputation in the matter of security.
Of the 17 killed in the blast that brought Pune on the terror radar for the first time, five were foreigners.