German bakery blast: ATS, forensic experts claims differ

An explosion tore through a crowded bakery popular with foreigners in Pune on February 13, 2010.

Updated: Feb 20, 2011, 13:09 PM IST

Pune: Chinks have started appearing in the elite Maharashtra ATS probe into the
year-old German bakery blast case with police claiming a mobile phone alarm was used to cause the explosion while forensic experts are yet to decipher the triggering mechanism.

In its chargesheet, ATS claimed that wanted accused Mohsin Chowdhury and Yasin Bhatkal and arrested accused Himayat Baig went to Mumbai to purchase a sack and a Nokia 1100 model mobile phone which was subsequently used as a triggering device to cause the bomb explosions.

According to the chargesheet, the explosives were planted in the sack and kept at the German bakery at 1700 hours on February 13, 2010.

"...the bomb subsequently exploded at 18.50 hours triggered with the help of mobile alarm triggering device thereby causing death of 17 people and seriously injuring 56," the ATS claims in the charge sheet.

This set alarm bells among the investigators including the National Investigating Agency (NIA) as no forensic tests had shown any presence of a mobile phone from the scene of the blast.

Repeated queries to the ATS by other probe agencies for providing the International Mobile Equipment Identity (IMEI) number did not fructify. The ATS had now informed the Pune court that it would be submitted a fresh set of documents before it on February 22.

Baig`s counsel A Rehman also said that there was no mention of any mobile phone in the forensic tests. After sensational disclosure of Swami Aseemanand that Malegaon blasts of 2006 were carried out by right wing terror groups, eye-brows have started appearing in connection with the ATS investigations in the Pune bakery blast.

Last week, Union Home Secretary G K Pillai had 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 Pune Bakery blast case was jinxed for ATS Maharashtra when it first arrested a youth Abdul Samad from Mangalore and accused him of carrying out the blast.

However, they were left red faced after no evidence was provided about his role. ATS chief Rakesh Maria, after showing arrest of Baig and naming him as Lashker-e-Toiba 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.

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.

Baig`s counsel is trying to prepare his defence from the 2,700 pages of the chargesheet in which he claims names of witnesses have been allegedly removed.

The advocate had recently submitted that the ATS has conducted the investigations and has filed a charge sheet 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 charge sheet, determining role of witnesses and preparing the defence as the names of witnesses were allegedly omitted from the charge sheet at the time of supplying copies.

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