Monday, February 14, 2011

German Bakery blast: One year on, govt says case still unsolved

Mumbai/Pune, February 13, 2011

The claims of Mumbai\'s Anti-Terror Squad of having cracked the German Bakery case seems to have hit a roadblock with a key accused claiming that he had been detained several weeks before the blast and senior home ministry officials terming the case as \"unsolved\".

Notwithstanding the chargesheet filed by ATS holding Himayat Baig as an accused in the Pune blast, which took place on February 13 last year killing 17 people including foreigners, the police is yet to answer many queries regarding the blasts including the triggering mechanism and the modus operandi adopted by the perpetrators.

Baig, who has been granted audience with his counsel A. Rehman, has contended that he was picked up by ATS weeks before the blast at Pune\'s German bakery had taken place in connection with a petty crime.

\"He told me that he had been picked up by police weeks before\" the blast, Baig\'s advocate Rehman told PTI.

While the advocate is trying to make his defence from the 2700 pages of the chargesheet in which he claims names of witnesses have been allegedly removed, in Delhi, Union Home Secretary G. K. Pillai has termed the case as \"unsolved\" along with the blast cases in Delhi\'s Jama Masjid area and Varanasi.

Asked whether the investigations into the German bakery case were complete, Pillai said, \"Still it is unsolved..\" and added that the modus operandi used in the Pune blast was different from that in Varanasi and Delhi.

The chargesheet has left many questions unanswered including the way in which the blast was triggered though ATS chief Rakesh Maria had maintained before reporters that the blast detonated using a mobile phone alarm.

However, according to the sources, nothing has been mentioned about the triggering mechanism in the chargesheet and the forensic analysis of the blast site had nothing to suggest presence of any mobile instrument.

Maria, after showing arrest of Baig and naming him as Lashker-e-Taiba (LeT) chief for Maharashtra, had committed a faux pas when he claimed that the accused had been present in Pune where as ATS Deputy Inspector General, Ravindra Kadam, who was posted in Pune, rejected that Baig had ever visited Pune.

Rehman had recently submitted that the ATS has conducted the investigations and has filed a chargesheet against Baig and wanted to know the names of witnesses so that he could prepare his defence.

Rehman said he was facing practical problems in reading the chargesheet, determining role of witnesses and preparing the defence as the names of witnesses were allegedly omitted from the chargesheet at the time of supplying copies.

The ATS had claimed that the blast was carried out by Indian Mujahideen and Lashker but the hate mail from banned IM after the Jama Masjid blast in September last year had accused the ATS chief of trapping \"innocents\" in the German bakery case.

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