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HC asks prisons dept if German Bakery convict can be shifted to ‘secure jail’

Pune(PTI): The Bombay High Court has directed the prisons department to inform whether Himayat Baig, the lone convict in the 2010 German Bakery blast who is facing death sentence, can be lodged in any other secured jail after he expressed apprehension of threat to his life in the Yerwada prison.

Baig, who was earlier lodged at the Arthur Road central prison in Mumbai, was shifted to the Yerwada prison in Pune last year as the high court was not hearing his appeal against conviction.

Baig filed an application through his lawyer Mehmood Pracha praying that he be transferred back to the Arthur Road prison as he fears threat to his life in Yerwada prison.

A division bench of Justices VM Kanade and AR Joshi on Thursday directed the Additional Director General of Police (Prisons) to inform the court within a week as to whether Baig can be shifted from Yerwada and lodged in any other secured prison.

His application states that the environment in the Yerwada prison is hostile and he fears that he too shall face the same fate as co-accused in the German Bakery blast case Qateel Siddique, who was attacked and killed inside the jail in August 2012 by fellow inmates.

On February 13, 2010 bomb exploded inside the German Bakery in Pune’s upmarket Koregaon Park area killing 17 persons including five foreigners and injuring 58 persons.

On April 19, 2013, the sessions court in Pune awarded death penalty to Baig, a resident of Beed.

As per the law, the state government has to get the death sentence confirmed from the Bombay high court. Baig too has challenged his conviction and claimed innocence.

Government’s confirmation petition and Baig’s appeal is pending hearing.

In a twist in the case, journalist Ashish Khetan has also filed an intervention application before the HC praying for a re-investigation in the case by an independent agency alleging fabrication of evidence and tutoring of witnesses by the state Anti Terrorism Squad (ATS).

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