The Anti-Terrorism Squad court here on Wednesday restrained the electronic media from showing any CCTV footage on the German Bakery blast, to protect witnesses.
Speaking to journalists, Commissioner of Police Satyapal Singh read out the court order: “No electronic media should publish, display or telecast any footage or coverage of the incident dated February 13, 2010, or before the incident, that has come on CCTV at the German Bakery and O Hotel which will lead to disclosure of identity of witnesses (sic).”
The order was passed under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, he said. Section 44 provides for protection of witnesses such as keeping their identities secret even in orders, judgments and records of the court, by issuing directions to secure their identity.
The order came after a TV news channel obtained a leaked copy of the footage available with the investigating agencies. Footage had been obtained from the closed circuit television cameras installed outside the O Hotel, right opposite the bakery.
In an earlier interaction with journalists, Mr. Singh said: “We have got vital clues from the CCTV footage.”
Investigating agencies have also obtained footage from the CCTV camera installed at the billing counter of the bakery. “But the visuals captured were limited to the billing counter,” Mr. Singh had said, hinting that the footage had not been of any use.
On Wednesday, he said: “The ATS is inquiring into how the footage was leaked. But I can say for sure that it was not leaked from Pune.”
Asked about a newspaper report that the Ram Pradhan Committee report had warned of Pune as a possible target, Mr. Singh said, “The committee [which probed police response to 26/11] had certainly come to Pune to discuss the security situation. But it did not warn me.” When it was pointed out that the reporter quoted the page number of the Ram Pradhan report on which the committee made the observation, Mr. Singh said, “Nobody conveyed or wrote to me [about Pune being a possible target].”
Asked about the progress of the German Bakery case probe, the Police Commissioner said: “The investigation is going fine.” But he had no information about the detention of an operative of the Harkat-ul-Jihad al-Islami (HuJI) in Surat.
Mr. Singh said two organisations had written to him, claiming responsibility for the blast. The letter by the SIMI (Students Islamic Movement of India) International bore a Pune stamp. The other letter sent by the Mujahideen Islami Muslim Front was written in Devanagari script, and he could not decipher the handwriting. He could not also say, despite using a magnifying glass, where this letter was posted.
“Some groups claim responsibility. But the claims may be false or may have been made to divert the course of the investigation. Such claims will not affect the probe,” he said.