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