Pune/Mumbai, March 17: Himayat Mirza Baig, the 35-year-old who was convicted for conspiracy in connection with the Pune German Bakery blasts case will serve a life sentence.
The Bombay High Court bench comprising Justices Naresh Patil and S B Shukre reversed the verdict of the trial court which had awarded him a death sentence.
As per the procedure, an award of death penalty needs to be confirmed by the High Court. In this case the court ruled since his did not fall under the rarest of rare cases, it was converting his death sentence to life.
Baig was arrested on conspiracy charges in connection with the 2010 German Bakery blasts case in which 17 persons had died. The police concluded that this blast was the handiwork of the Indian Mujahideen.
The case against Baig:
According to the prosecution there was enough and more circumstantial evidence to suggest that Baig was a conspirator. The prosecution had relied on the testimony of the other accused coupled with the ones given by the other accused.
However, interestingly during the course of the investigation, Yasin Bhatkal who was the head of the Indian Mujahideen post his arrest had claimed that Baig was innocent.
The police had alleged that there was RDX found at his residence. The chemical analysis conducted showed that the material found at his home and the samples collected from the spot of the blast matched.
The contention of the defence:
However, Baig's lawyer contended that he was innocent. This is a concocted case by the police, the lawyer had argued. It was also contended that Baig was not even in Pune at the time of the blast. He was in Aurangabad on that day was the contention by his lawyer pleading to release him.
This case had generated a lot of debate with many coming out in support of Baig. Several persons contended that he was being harassed unnecessarily. They even contended that the trial court was wrong in awarding a death penalty while convicting him.
On April 2013, Baig was sentenced to death by a trial court at Pune. The blast had claimed 17 lives and injured 58 persons. The target was the upmarket German Bakery and it was stated by investigators that the main target were the foriegners.