The Maharashtra government on Thursday moved the Supreme Court against the Bombay high court verdict that commuted death penalty to life term for Mirza Himayat Baig, the lone convict in Pune German Bakery blast which had claimed 17 lives in 2010.
The petition also challenged the March 17, 2016 judgement of high court which also acquitted Baig from serious charges under various sections of the Unlawful Prevention (Activities) Act and the Indian Penal Code, including sections 302 (murder) read with 120-B (criminal conspiracy).
The high court had convicted 32-year-old Baig for offences under IPC Section 474 (possessing a document knowing it to be forged with intent to use it as genuine) and under Section 5(b) of the Explosive Substances Act relating to punishment for making or possessing explosives under suspicious circumstance.
Baig, who was alleged to be a member of banned terror outfit Indian Mujahideen, was arrested in September 2010 from Latur in Maharashtra for involvement in the blast at German Bakery, a popular eatery in Pune’s Koregaon Park area which killed 17 persons and injured 58 including some foreigners.
In 2013, the trial court had convicted and awarded him capital punishment.
The appeal filed through advocate Nishant R Katneshwarkar raised 20 grounds while assailing the high court order.
It alleged that the high court had not relied upon the evidence which showed that Baig had travelled from Latur to Mumbai and stayed at a lodge for the purpose of entering into a conspiracy or ‘for giving final shape to terrorist act or in furtherance of his terrorist activities’.
‘Prosecution witness 93 was the autorickshaw driver who saw the respondent (Baig) with the planter of the bomb which proves the last seen theory. In the test identification parade the autorickshaw driver identified the respondent (Baig).
‘In spite of that, the high Court held that the plea of the prosecution that the respondent was last seen with planter of the bomb does not get credence,’ it said.
The plea further said ‘the high court does not consider that there was a definite connection between the explosive recovered from the possession of the respondent (Baig) and the explosive used in the bomb’.
Besides Baig, another accused Qateel Siddiqui was also arrested in the case, but he had died in Pune’s Yerawada jail following a scuffle with other inmates.
The other wanted accused are Indian Mujahideen operatives -- Yasin Bhatkal, Mohsin Choudhary, Riyaz Bhatkal, Iqbal Ismail Bhatkal, Fayyaz Kagzi and Sayyad Zabiuddin Ansari.
Yasin, who had allegedly planted the bomb in the eatery, was arrested in August 2013. The case against him is pending before the trial court.