Pune blast suspect Abdul Bhatkal released on bail | mumbai | Hindustan Times
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Pune blast suspect Abdul Bhatkal released on bail

The Maharashtra ATS was left red faced today as a court granted bail to Abdul Samad Bhatkal, arrested in connection with an 2009 arms seizure case and alleged to be involved in the Pune blast case, saying there was no evidence against him.

mumbai Updated: Jun 15, 2010 18:19 IST

The Maharashtra ATS was left red faced on Tuesday with a court granting bail to Abdul Samad Bhatkal, arrested in connection with an 2009 arms seizure case and alleged to be involved in the Pune blast case, saying there was no evidence against him.

23-year-old Samad, a resident of Bhatkal district in Northern Karnataka, had filed a bail application in the court of Additional Sessions Judge S L Pathan claiming that he was an accused in the 2009 arms case for which he had been arrested.

Bhatkal was picked up by the Maharashtra ATS on May 25 at Mangalore airport after he was returning from Dubai and immediately Union Home Ministry was informed about it.

He was charged with supplying of arms to three persons arrested from South Mumbai in August, 2009.

The judge observed there is no evidence against Bhatkal and that even the ATS had never shown Bhatkal as a "wanted accused" in the 2009 arms seizure case and ordered his release on a surety of Rs 25,000.

Only one person, named Arif Mirza Baig, was shown as "wanted accused" in this case, the judge observed and pointed out that the other three co-accused arrested earlier were out on bail. Hence on parity grounds, Bhatkal was granted bail.

The ATS had claimed a breakthrough in this year's Pune German Bakery blast, which claimed 17 lives, with the arrest of Bhatkal.

Even Union Home Minister P Chidambaram had issued a statement complimenting the ATS for the breakthrough. However, the statement was diluted later and the Home Minister cautioned the police to verify all the facts.

Defence lawyer Solkar argued that Bhatkal's name was not included in the investigating agency's remand application filed in 2009, while ATS has been claiming that Bhatkal has been named as an accused in the 2009 arms seizure case.

ATS claimed that Bhatkal, allegedly close to gangster Chhota Shakeel, had provided arms to Haji Imran, Suleiman Patel and Afzal Shaikh who were arrested on August 5 last year from a Mazgaon hotel.