Ger­man Bak­ery blast: HC sets aside Baig’s death penalty; life term stays

Hindustan Times ST (Mumbai) - HT Navi Mumbai Live - - FRONT PAGE - Aye­sha Arvind aye­sha.arvind@hin­dus­tan­times.com

The Bom­bay high court quashed on Thurs­day the death penalty of the lone con­vict from a 2010 bomb at­tack at Pune’s Ger­man Bak­ery, but con­firmed a life sen­tence given to him over pos­ses­sion of ex­plo­sives.

The court ac­quit­ted al­leged In­dian Mu­jahideen op­er­a­tive Hi­mayat Baig of un­law­ful ac­tiv­i­ties and eight other charges linked to the blast that killed 17 peo­ple and in­jured 58 at the tourist eatery.

He was ar­rested in Septem­ber 2010 and sen­tenced to death by a Pune court three years later based on an in­ves­ti­ga­tion by the Maharashtra Anti-Ter­ror­ism Squad (ATS).

The bomb was left in a backpack un­der a ta­ble at the pop­u­lar restau­rant lo­cated a few me­tres away from an Osho Ashram and a Chabad Jewish cen­tre, both al­legedly sur­veyed by Lashkare-Taiba op­er­a­tive David Cole­man Headley, who scouted tar­gets for the 2008 Mum­bai at­tacks.

The divi­sion bench of jus­tices NH Patil and SB Shukre said the pros­e­cu­tion re­lied on cir­cum­stan­tial ev­i­dence and failed to prove that the con­vict had any role in man­u­fac­tur­ing the bomb or help­ing oth­ers plant it.

The court re­served the or­der in De­cem­ber af­ter hear­ing for over four months the Maharashtra govern­ment’s death con­fir­ma­tion pe­ti­tion and Baig’s ap­peal chal­leng­ing his con­vic­tion and death sen­tence.

CON­TIN­UED ON P10

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