Thursday, September 5, 2013

Pune Bakery blast main accused Himayat Baig is innocent, says Bhatkal

Krishna Kumar  New Delhi, September 5, 2013 | UPDATED 22:03 IST

Mohammed Ahmed Sidibappa, alias Yasin Bhatkal has reportedly told interrogators that Himayat Baig the man who is been accussed of being involved in Pune's German Bakery blast and who has been recently sentenced to death was innocent and that he was not involved in the conspiracy. Bhatkal has claimed that it he was him and Qateel Siddiqui who engineered the blasts and not Baig, Bhatkal's claim has not surprised those who know the reality of how the Maharashtra ATS has been conducting its investigations in sensational cases.

Since the time it was formed the Maharashtra ATS has been known for only one thing botching up its investigations and ending up with egg on its face. Take for instance the July 11, 2006 serial blasts in Mumbai's local trains. The ATS arrested a number of accussed in the case, one of them was Shabbir Ahmed Masiullah alias Batterywala. How the Anti Terrorist Squad conducts its investigations can be gauged from the fact that one month later when a series of bomb explosions rocked Malegaon on September 8, the ATS showed Batterywala to be involved in the Malegaon blast. So according to the ATS Batterywala was involved in the Mumbai serial blasts in trains for which he was arrested and then some how he was involved in executing the Malegaon 2006 blasts.

Incidentally the nine accussed alleged to be involved in the 2006 Malegaon blasts who were arrested by the ATS have been found by the National Investigation Agency (NIA) to have no links with the blasts case and the agency has hence not opposed their discharge applications.

This has not been the only blooper, there are much doubts as to whether the ATS has caught the right suspects in the Mumbai serial train blasts too. The ATS arrested 11 accussed in the July 11, train blasts however in 2008 the case took a new turn after the Mumbai Crime Branch busted a module of the Indian Mujahideen. The Crime Branch arrested one Sadiq Shaikh along with his accomplices who told the police that it was the IM that was involved in the 2006 train blasts and not those arrested. The disclosure caused much embarrassment because it was not the defence lawyer but the investigation of another law enforcement agency that expressed doubts about who actually created the 2006 blasts.

While Yasin Bhatkal has absolved Baig now after he has been sentenced, there were doubts as to his role in the blasts even prior to his trial. None other than the DIG of Police Ravindra Kadam (ATS) who was investigating the case publicly said that Baig was not in Pune on the day of the blasts. This when the ATS was all along claiming that he along with Bhatkal had planted the bomb in the German Bakery. A day later however Kadam claimed that he was not aware of Baig's exact role. Interestingly the cell phone records show that Baig was in Aurangabad when the Pune bomb went off. When Baig was sentenced to hang by the trial court, he pleaded before the judge that he was not guilty, " In the German Bakery blast 17 innocent people were killed. Now one more innocent person is being victimised. I am the 18th victim of the blast. To render justice to the victims of the blast it would be inappropriate to punish another innocent person.

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