PUNE GERMAN BAKERY CASE
On February 13, 2010, a powerful bomb tore apart the famous German bakery situated atthe posh colony of Koregaon Park in Pune. Seventeen persons were killed and 58 suffered severeto minor injuries. The Maharashtra ATS seized the CCTV footage from inside the bakeryand claimed that they had identified the bomber.
In June 2010 the Mumbai ATS arrested one Abdul Samad, a young Muslim and a resident of Bhatkal town in Karnataka, ostensibly for the Pune Blast.
But the ATS theory collapsed when Samad’s parents held a press conference and released videos and pictures of Samad attending a wedding in his home town in Bhatkal on the day of the blast. Faced with incontrovertible evidence of Samad’s innocence, the ATS did a sudden U-turn and now said that the bomber was Samad’s brother Ahmed Siddibapa also known as Yasin Bhatkal among the agencies. Samad was instead shown arrested in a bogus Arms Act case and was soon released on bail.
ARREST OF HIMAYAT BAIG In September 2010 the ATS arrested a resident of non-descript town named Udgir in Beed District of Maharashtra named Himayat Baig and claimed that it was he who along with Siddibapa had carried out the German bakery bombing. The ATS also claimed that he confessed to his involvement and also led the police to the recovery of explosives. At the time of his arrest Baig was running a small cyber café in Udgir.
In December 2010 Baig was chargesheeted. His charges read that Yasin Bhatkal prepared the bomb at Baig’s cyber café. ATS claimed that Baig and Yasin transported the bomb during the early hours of 13 February from Udgir to Pune by covering a distance of over 300 kilometers.
As per the ATS theory, they left Udgir at around 5 am to reach the city of Latur at 6 am and from there they came to Pune by a private luxury bus. They reached Pune at around 2 pm and the two remained together during the day, claimed the ATS.
The ATS further claimed that the two planted the bomb at around 17:00 hours at German Bakery and the same exploded at around 18:50.
ARRREST OF QATIL SIDDIQUE In November 2011, almost an year after Baig was arrested, the Delhi Special Cell arrested a 28 year old resident of Darbhanga district in Bihar named Qateel Siddiqui. Delhi Police claimed that Siddiqui was involved in several terror strikes including the Bangalore Chinnaswamy Stadium Blasts of 2010 and the Pune German Bakery. Both Bangalore and Delhi Police carried out a sustained interrogation of Siddiqui. The consistent and continued case of the Delhi and Bangalore charge-sheets regarding Qateel is that he was behind the German Bakery.My sources in the agencies have provided me the original Interrogation Reports prepared by both Delhi and Bangalore Police, upon which the charge-sheets are based. Thus the open position is that Qateel is the guilty party, and with no link to Himayat. Then how is it that for the Pune trial Court alone, Himayat is the guilty party, not Qateel? So much so that Himayat has been handed down a death sentence, with no evidence of his presence even in the CCTV footage?
Gulail is putting out in the public domain the Interrogation Reports reports of Qateel Siddiqui prepared by Delhi and Karnataka Police. These reports were kept away from the Pune Court that tried and convicted Himayat Baig. As per both these IRs, it were Qateel and Yasin who had come together to plant a bomb at two different places in Pune. While Qateel was supposed to plant the bomb at a temple named Dagduseth Halwai Ganesh Temple, Yasin took it upon himself to plant a bomb at the German Bakery. Also, as per these IRs, Yasin and Qateel were together until 2:30 PM on February 13 in a room they had rented in Pune. But the ATS theory is that Yasin was with Himayat Baig through out the day on the 13th. Also Delhi and Bangalore Police reports had Qateel and Yasin as the lone figures in the plot of Pune German Bakery with no reference to Himayat Baig whatsoever. Once again, we have different courts being given different stories regarding the same incident. The helpless accused or their agents might never know of these conflicting versions and can seldom access the information. Justice is the uniform casualty.
ATTEMPT TO WHITEWASH THE CONTRADICTION BY THE ATS
To harmonise these blatant contradictions the ATS sent an officer named Dinesh Kadam to interrogate Qatil. Now Kadam after interrogating Qateel prepared his own report. In his report Kadam made one crucial change from the reports of the Delhi and Bangalore Police. To bring Qateel’s revelations in consonance with ATS case, Kadam claimed that the bomb that Yasin gave to Qatil was not given on the 13th but on the 11th. This was done to justify Yasin Bhatkal’s presence with Baig on the 13th as the ATS had already chargesheeted Baig on the basis of this theory. On all other counts, the Mahrahstra ATS accepted and confirmed Qatil’s revelations made before the Delhi and Bangalore Police. Kadam also accepted the claim of the Bangalore and Delhi police that Qatil eventually could not plant the bomb at Ganesh Temple and instead dismantled it and threw it away into the sea in Mumbai. But to retrspectively harmonise their old investigation with Qatil’s revelations, Kadam twisted those portions of Qatil’s confession in which he spoke about his continued presence with Yasin on February 13. February 13 was pre-dated to February 11 by Inspector Kadam, as the ATS had already spun a story around baig and Yasin for February 13 and the same theory had already been preseneted before a Pune Court in the form of a chargesheet.
Kadam went back to Pune and filed a fresh complaint against Qateel in a Pune Court and charged him for attempting to bomb Ganesh temple. The complaint filed by Kadam can read here (the reports are in Marathi. The English tranlastion would be uploaded very soon).
The ATS now took police custody of Qateel in this new case on 2.05.2012 and took him to Maharashtra. On 28.05.2012 a Pune court sent him to judicial custody and Qateel was lodged in a High Security Cell at Yervada Jail in Pune.
Qateel is murdered in high-security jail
On 8.06.2012 Qateel was mysteriously murdered in High Security Section of the Yerwada jail. On the same day Qateel was supposed to be brought back to Delhi to be produced before a Delhi Court in connection with a separate case registered against him by the Delhi Special Cell. The Maharashtra Police claimed that two fellow inmates killed Qatil over some angry exchange of words. According to police he was strangulated with a Bermuda pant cord. But the same couldn’t be recovered because it was claimed to have been burnt by the accused.
POINTS FOR COURT TO CONSIDER
How can a separate nuance be obtained only by the ATS Maharasthra in that is crucially missing from the confessions and Interrogation Reports regarding the same persons by the other police agencies.
How is it that the nuanced changes Qateel’s confessionprepared by the ATS Maharasthra are suited only and wholly to preserving the arrests already made, though every thing else points to the opposite direction.
Can the ATS be left with the responsibility of terror investigations? Their tweaking of Qateel’s statement in Pune German Bakery, to maintain the non-existent case against Himayat now under sentence of death will need to be subjected to independent scrutiny.
How does Qateel conveniently die inside a High Security Prison, and how do two inmates confess to his murder, without leaving behind any evidence . How does the facile explanation that the rope by which he was strangulated was flushed away, pass without question?
The system of checks and balances has completely collapsed and at every level of institutional checks—the doctors, the magistrates and others.
In all probablility the story of perverting the criminal justice system goes beyond just the case of Qatil and Himayat Baig. These are issues of grave public importance that go beyond mere legality. It’s not just the security of our nation but also the very idea of Indian democracy that is under threat.
Every time an innocent personis framed in a terror case, the real culprits do not just get away but also get emboldened. The story of obfuscation of facts in the German bakery case is not just aberrations in investigations or minor breaches, but a whole stylised operation with active prejudice, that will only serve to increase the terror threat that this nation faces and endanger our internal security. (Courtesy: http://www.gulail.com)