Baig, who is believed to be the mastermind of the blast, was arrested by the ATS in Pune on September 7, 2010

The State Anti Terrorist Squad (ATS) on Saturday filed a charge sheet against Mirza Himayat Inayat Baig and six others accused in connection with the Pune German Bakery Blast. The other accused, Mohsin Choudhary, Yasin Bhatkal, Riyaz Bhatkal, Iqbal Bhatkal, Faiyaz Kagzi and Zabiuddin Ansari are absconding.

Baig, who is believed to be the mastermind of the blast, was arrested by the ATS in Pune on September 7, 2010. He is in judicial custody now.

The blast, which took place on February 13, 2010, killed 17 people and left more than 60 injured.

Permission sought

Assistant Commissioner of Police (ATS) Vinod Satav submitted the charge sheet in the Judicial Magistrate First Class (JMFC) Court to Judical Magistrate Swarup S Bose. Asst. Public Prosecutor A.V. Ausekar told reporters that the ATS has sought permission from the court to conduct further investigations in the case under section 173 (8) of the Criminal Penal Code. Supplementary charge sheets will be filed when the absconding accused are arrested.

Baig, 29, is charged under Sections 302, 307, 326, 325, 324, 427, 466, 468, 472, 474, 153(A), 109, 34 and 120(B) of the Indian Penal Code, which pertain to murder, attempt to murder, assault, using equipment to make forged document, trespassing, wagging war against India, and Criminal conspiracy. He is also charged under Sections 3, 4 and 5 of the Explosive Substance Act and Sections 10,13,16,18, 20 and 21 of the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, which pertain to penalty for being a member of an unlawful organisation, for conspiracy and punishment for undertaking a terrorist act.

To protect the witnesses

Mr. Ausekar has also sought the permission of the court to keep the witnesses' name a secret under Section 44 of the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act 1967, due to the heinous nature of the crime committed. “This is an attack against the nation, the government and against the nation's people. It is necessary to protect the witnesses in this case,” Mr. Ausekar told reporters.

“Thumping evidence has been collected so far to nail the accused. However, at the same time, it is essential to bear in mind that the co-conspirators and the co-accused are still at large, and therefore, considering the magnitude and seriousness of the offence and threat to the security of the witnesses in this case, their names and addresses should be kept secret,” he submitted to the court. A truncated copy of the chargesheet, which will not have the names of the eye witnesses should be given to accused, he has requested.

When asked about the details of the chargesheet, Mr. Ausekar stated that there were more than 50 witnesses in the case. The CCTV footage had revealed that Baig had entered the German Bakery with two bags, and had come out with one after some time, he said. The necessary sanctions from the district Collector and the State home department had been taken before filing the charge sheet, he said.

Permission to read

Defence lawyer A Rehman moved an application before the court, where he said, “Baig is kept a cell at Yerawada jail where he may be permitted to be given some books or newspaper to read as he feels isolated.” The magistrate allowed his application.

Talking to reporters, Mr. Rehman said, “The charge sheet is not given to me and I feel it's an incomplete charge sheet, as the ATS has made a hurry to file the charge sheet. As on Monday, it will be 90 days since the arrest. As the magistrate has allowed the application of APP Ausekar, I am going to appeal to the higher court as the magistrate has no power to order the application and it will be difficult for me as a lawyer to understand, if the names of witnesses are not mentioned.”

Baig, who is believed to be the Lashkar-e-Tayabba's (LeT) Maharashtra unit chief, will be produced in the Sessions Court on December 6.