Mecca Masjid blast case: Special NIA court acquits all accused

Mecca Masjid blast case: Special NIA court acquits all accused

The court, however, would deliver its verdict for only five accused.

The BJP on Monday launched a sharp attack on the Congress after a court acquitted right-wing activist Swami Aseemanand and four others in the 2007 Mecca Masjid blast case, claiming that the opposition party's "appeasement politics" of "defaming" Hindus has been exposed.

An NIA court in Nampally in Hyderabad said that the prosecution failed to prove any of the charges against any of the five persons accused in the 18 May 2007 explosion which left nine people dead and over 50 injured at the historic mosque located near Charminar.

Ten people allegedly belonging to right wing organisations were named as accused in the case. Notably, some of them were also charged in the Mecca Masjid blast case. The five accused are Lokesh Sharma, Swami Aseemanand, Devendra Gupta, Rajendra Chowdhary and Bharat Mohanlal Rateshwar. The accused are related to a radical Hindu organisation called Abhinav Bharat whose members allegedly have ties to the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS). Another accused Sunil Joshi was murdered during the probe.

Initially, the Hyderabad police who investigated the case suspected it to be the handiwork of Harkat-ul-Jihad-e-Islami (HuJI), a fundamentalist group supported by Pakistan's Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI), said a report in the Hindustan Times.

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The fourth additional metropolitan sessions-cum-special court for NIA related cases had concluded the trial and last week posted the case to April 16 for judgment. Eventually, the case was taken over by the National Investigation Agency from the CBI in 2011.

A total of 226 witnesses were examined during the trial and as many as 411 documents exhibited.

March 23, 2017: Hyderabad court has granted Aseemanad bail on condition that he cannot leave Hyderabad and Secunderabad.

The SIT had picked up over 125 Muslim youths from across the Old City and interrogated them. Elaborate security arrangements have been made by the police in and around the court premises for the big verdict.

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