Mumbai: The Bombay high court quashed the death penalty of the lone convict in the 2010 German Bakery blast case, but said he would serve out a life sentence awarded to him for possession of explosives.
The court on Thursday acquitted suspected Indian Mujahideen operative Himayat Baig of nine charges in connection with the blast that killed 17 people and injured 58 at the tourist eatery in Pune.
He was arrested in September 2010 and sentenced to death by a Pune court three years later.
The high court said the prosecution had relied on circumstantial evidence and failed to prove Baig had any role in manufacturing the bomb or helping others plant it.
Another arrested accused, Qateel Siddiqui, died in Pune’s Yerawada jail in 2012 after a scuffle with inmates. Half a dozen other accused are wanted.
The bomb was left in a backpack under a table at the popular restaurant, which is a few metres from an Osho ashram and a Jewish Chabad centre — both allegedly surveyed by Lashkar-e-Taiba operative David Coleman Headley, who scouted targets for the 2008 Mumbai attacks.
Baig’s counsel, Mehmood Pracaha, told the court the prosecution had only established parts of the conspiracy and failed to link them.
The judges said the period already spent in prison by the convict will be considered as part of the life sentence.