Indian court convicts man over 2010 Pune city blast

An Indian court on Monday convicted a man over a blast which killed 17 people and wounded dozens more at a busy restaurant in the city of Pune three years ago, the prosecutor said.

A lower court in Pune in western India found Mirza Himayat Baig guilty of criminal conspiracy and murder for the attack on the packed German Bakery, where five foreigners were among those killed.

"Baig has been found guilty of all the key charges. He was a co-conspirator," special public prosecutor Raja Thakare told AFP.

Thakare said that the court found Baig guilty of criminal conspiracy, murder and also under sections of the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act and the Explosive Substances Act, among other counts.

Baig's sentence will be handed down on April 18. Several others who are co-accused on the chargesheet are still at large.

"We will file an appeal to the high court," Baig's counsel A. Rehman told reporters after the verdict was delivered in Pune, a small city located 150 kilometres (94 miles) from India's financial capital Mumbai.

The prosecution told the court that the conspirators planned the attack at a meeting in Colombo, Sri Lanka, where Baig was trained to make a bomb, but the defence team denied this and said he was not in Pune at the time of the blast.

The bombing on February 13, 2010 in Maharashtra state was the first major attack in India after the November 2008 assault on Mumbai by Islamist gunmen, which left 166 dead.

The Pune explosion -- caused by a bomb left in a rucksack -- ripped through the building, creating a hole in the wall measuring six feet by four feet (1.8 metres by 1.2 metres) and sending those inside fleeing for their lives.

Baig, who used to run a cyber cafe in Maharashtra, was arrested after several months of investigation.

The German Bakery was popularly known as "Pune's Cafe Leopold" -- named after the hangout popular with tourists and young people in downtown Mumbai, which was targeted in the 2008 attacks.

Pune was hit again last August by a string of low-intensity blasts targeted a bustling restaurant and centrally-located shopping area in the city, injuring one person.