German Bakery: Order reserved on witnesses’ plea against ATS

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German-BakeryBombay High Court has reserved its order on an application filed by two witnesses in the 2002 Pune German Bakery bomb blast case seeking protection from officers of state Anti Terrorism Squad (ATS).

A division bench of justices V K Tahilramani and P N Deshmukh will soon pass its order on the application of the witnesses alleging that they were coerced into giving false statements against lone convict Himayat Baig, before the trial court.

The two witnesses had filed the application soon after Baig made an appeal in the High Court against his conviction and the death penalty awarded to him by a sessions court for carrying out the blast.

The witnesses claimed that they were coerced and tutored into making deliberate false statements before the court with a malafide intention of securing Baig’s conviction.

The witnesses also alleged that prior to their deposition before the trial court; they were kept separately for several days and tutored by the ATS personnel as to the nature of the recoveries and statements that were relied on to convict the accused during the trial.

The ATS opposed the witnesses’ claim.

Apart from the two witnesses’ application, journalist Ashish Khetan also filed an application seeking probe by an independent agency in the blast case again.

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

On April 19 last year, the sessions court in Pune had awarded death penalty to Baig.