The Maharashtra Anti-Terrorism Squad has finally established the Sri Lankan connection in the Pune German Bakery blast case. Mirza Himayat Inayat Baig, the alleged mastermind, underwent training to ‘assemble explosive devices and cause their explosion' in Colombo in March 2008, says the charge sheet filed by the ATS against Baig and six other accused. He was trained by two of the accused, Faiyaz Kagzi and Zabiuddin Ansari.
The charge sheet says Kagzi and Ansari gave Baig money or funding the purchase of explosive devices and the travel of indoctrinated Muslim youth to Pakistan for training. After training in Pakistan, Baig returned to India and lived in the non-descript Udgir taluk in Maharashtra's Latur district under concealed identity as ‘Yusuf' and ‘Hasan'.
In the last week of January 2010, on instructions from two of the accused Riyaz Bhatkal and Iqbal Bhatkal, the other two accused Yasin Bhatkal and Mohsin Chowdhary met Baig in Udgir to “discuss, finalise and put into execution the plan to cause the bomb explosion at German Bakery,” according to the charge sheet. On January 31, Baig conducted a recce and decided the timing of planting the explosive device. In the first week of February, Yasin and Chowdhary went to Udgir again “to give finishing touches to the plan.”
Thereafter, the duo accompanied Baig to Mumbai, where a haversack and a Nokia 1100 model mobile phone (which was used to trigger the explosion) were bought. Yasin and Chowdhary assembled the explosive device at the Global Internet Café in Udgir. The charge sheet says the three conspirators then travelled to Latur, taking private transport, and again from Udgir to Latur in a state corporation bus on February 13, the day of the blast. Yasin proceeded to the German Bakery and planted the bomb at about 5 p.m., and it went off at 6.50 p.m., killing 17 people.
All the accused, including Baig, are part of the banned Students Islamic Movement of India and the Lashkar-e-Taiba, the charge sheet states. Baig is also believed to be an operator of the terror outfit, Indian Mujahideen.
The ATS contends that Baig had used his friend Rehman's bank account to make various transactions from Udgir. He used 25 e-mail IDs to communicate with the other accused, while the plan was being hatched. ‘In pursuance of the conspiracy,' Baig acquired forged voter cards under two names, Khayum Ayub Shaikh and Immadoddin Ahmed Shaikh, the charge sheet states. He had even a forged “handicapped person card.” The Latur police said Khurshid Alam, who allegedly helped Baig acquire the forged voter card under the name of Khayum Ayub Shaikh, is on the run.
Commenting on the charge sheet, Baig's lawyer A. Rehman said his client was falsely implicated. Baig was given the charge sheet on Monday in the first class judicial magistrate court. The case is now moved to the sessions.