The Bombay High Court on Tuesday reserved its order on the bail application of Mirza Himayat Baig, an accused in the 2010 Nashik terror plot case. He was also convicted for the German Bakery terror attack in Pune.
Baig is currently serving a life sentence at Nashik Central Prison for his involvement in the bomb blast which killed 17 people and injured at least 60.
Advocate Mubin Solkar, representing Baig, informed the bench of Justices Revati Mohite-Dere and Gauri Godse that his client had already been arrested in the German Bakery case when the Anti-Terrorism Squad (ATS) of the Maharashtra Police took custody of him in the Nashik case. Solkar also argued that no actual terror activity occurred in the Nashik case.
In the terror plot case, two other people were accused apart from Baig – Sheikh Lal Baba and Abu Jundal. Jundal was also implicated in the 2008 Mumbai 26/11 terror attack and is currently undergoing trial.
During Tuesday’s hearing, Solkar argued that Sheikh Lal Baba, arrested a month before Baig, is the main accused with evidence like a substance believed to be RDX recovered from him. According to the ATS, the accused had plans to enter Nashik, but they were arrested before they could carry it out.
Solkar emphasised Baig’s prolonged incarceration of over 13 years and said, “The entire prosecution case relies on two witness statements from individuals who studied with Baig. They claimed that four years prior, in December 2006, a meeting was held where Baig allegedly instigated them to join the Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT).”
Solkar pointed out that at the time of the alleged meeting, LeT was not even a banned terrorist organisation. He argued, “LeT was declared a terrorist organisation only on December 31, 2008. Therefore, the allegation of instigating someone to join LeT or that Baig was a member of a banned organisation cannot stand. Moreover, the witnesses never went anywhere and were never actually recruited, so the allegations are not substantiated.”
However, Additional Public Prosecutor Prajakta Shinde opposed the bail plea, asserting that the accused had sent some recruits to Pakistan. Shinde supported this argument with an affidavit from the investigators.
The bench expressed scepticism and said, “Show us from statements, records, not from an affidavit. In an affidavit, you can say anything. How can we rely on an affidavit? The affidavit has to be supported by a statement.” Shinde acknowledged that “there are only two statements” against Baig.
The bench also asked about the status of the trial, and Shinde informed them that the 24th witness is currently testifying, with 30 more witnesses yet to be examined.