German Bakery blast - 10 years on: Accused in jail, but trials in judicial limbo
A decade has passed. The trauma is now a memory. Existential scars borne of the bomb blast that shattered the peaceful joie di vivre of Koregaon Park have all but faded. Now, only justice hangs in the balance. Justice, for which the victims, survivors, residents, all waitUpdated: Feb 13, 2020 16:47 IST
The trial against Indian Mujahideen operative Yasin Bhatkal, who is accused of planting the bomb in German Bakery on February 13, 2010, is yet to begin.
Bhatkal is one of seven people chargesheeted by the anti-terrorism squad (ATS) for the bomb blasts that left 17 dead and 60 injured, a decade ago.
One of the other seven charged, Mirza Himayat Inayat Baig alias Hasan, was the first person to face trial in the case and was convicted on 11 counts, including terrorism, murder, criminal conspiracy, forgery and possession of explosives, among others.
The probe agency arrested Baig at a bus stop in Pune after it recovered explosives from his residence in Beed, days after the incident.
On December 4, 2010, ATS registered the chargesheet against the seven, who also included Ahmed Siddibapa alias Yasin Bhatkal; Mohsin Choudhary; Riyaz Bhatkal; Iqbal Bhatkal; Faiyaz Kagzi, and Zabiuddin Ansari.
Zabiuddin Ansari was arrested by the Delhi Police in June 2012, in connection with the 26/11 Mumbai attack case. ATS has not arrested him in the Pune case. The others are untraceable
On April 18, 2013, additional sessions judge NP Dhote in Pune sentenced Mirza Himayat Baig to death, a convict in his mid-30s, lodged in a jail in Delhi.
The order was challenged in the Bombay High Court. On March 17, 2016, an HC bench of Judge SB Shukre and Justice Naresh H Patil acquitted Baig in all but two counts - possession of RDX and forgery.
“He was acquitted on five counts of the death sentence and five life sentences, when I was representing him. Now only one count of posession of RDX remains. The entire concept of Indian Mujahideen was introduced after the German Bakery blast. The entire video proof was orchestrated and the video was planted. After a lot of work to undo the trial court decision, I do not know what happened since the family (Baig’s) appointed another lawyer for the Supreme Court proceedings,” said Advocate Mahmood Pracha, who represented Baig in the Bombay High Court.
“The matter is admitted and is pending in the Supreme Court. All the original documents - the entire record of the lower court - was recieved from the high court some five-six months ago. No date has been given yet,” said advocate Farrukh Rasheed, who is now representing Baig.
This, in turn, has affected the hearing in the charges against Bhatkal, the second person to face trial in the case in the trial court in Pune.
“The ATS had filed an application to not hold the hearings as the documents are in the Supreme Court. I have filed a say in it and asked for whatever order is deemed fit by the court. However, no order has been passed yet,” said advocate Zaheer Pathan, representing Bhatkal in Pune.
While Baig is named in other cases including an arms haul case in Aurangabad, Bhatkal is convicted in other cases including a blast case in Hyderabad.