After Baig's conviction, Pune moves on with sense of closure



Pune: The pronouncement of death sentence to 33-year-old Himayat Baig, the lone convict in the February 2010 bombing of the German Bakery here, appeared to have brought a sense of closure after about three years to those impacted by the first terror strike in the city.

Despite the fact that five accused in the case including Yasin Bhatkal, who according to prosecution, actually planted the RDX laden explosive under a table of the eatery in plush Koregaon park area on February 13 three years ago, continue to be at large, the conviction of Baig held guilty of criminal conspiracy and murder, is being widely hailed by residents and those involved in the tragedy, which killed 17 persons and injured over 60.

Hardesh Jindal, the grieving father of 22-year-old Aditi, an interior designer student who was killed in the blast, ended his fast on Thursday on hearing the news of Baig's death sentence pronounced by the Additional Sessions judge N P Dhote.

Jindal who had undertaken fast a day earlier in anticipation of the court order, expressed satisfaction saying, "The court decision has come as a relief for me and so many others like me."

He, however, appeared conscious of the fact that five other accused were still absconding.

"Justice won't be done till all the other accused in the case are arrested and punished," he told media persons.

The owner of the German Bakery Snehal Kharose rued the fact that conviction of Baig was not going to give her back the popular establishment that the eatery was before it was shattered to pieces.

"It is good Baig has been convicted. It is not, however going to give me back my German Bakery. But the fact that Baig has been convicted in a reasonably short time is a positive development," she felt.

The eatery has been rebuilt has been handed over to a new management but according to old patrons, it has lost its old charm that had endeared it to a large number of young people and foreigners.

The 17 victims of the terror attack, the first after 26/11 Mumbai carnage, had also claimed lives of five foreigners.

The former investigating officer of the case, Vinod Satav, ACP (Rtd), said he was "happy" with the judgement pronounced by the court saying the water tight prosecution case reflected team effort of Maharashtra Anti-Terrorism Sqad led by the Chief Rakesh Maria.

Public prosecutor Raja ThakreM who expressed satisfaction over the successful conviction of Baig said, "The German Bakery case was based on circumstantial evidence which the court accepted. I have proved the case without the aid of a confession or an approver."

A patron of the eatery said there cannot be closure of such cases.

"But the judgement will bring some relief to those injured and the kin of the 17 victims. Every city has landmarks. For Pune, the German Bakery was one such prominent landmark destroyed in a cruel fashion," he felt.

PTI