Mecca Masjid blast case: NIA judge acquits all five accused, resigns later

Glen Norman
April 17, 2018

In all, nine Muslim men were accused and arrested by the Maharashtra anti-terrorist squad (ATS), of which one died in an accident in 2001.

A powerful blast, triggered by remote control, had ripped through the 400 year-old mosque in Hyderabad on 18 May, 2007, as worshipers congregated for Friday prayers, killing 14 people and wounding 58.

"The original case by the CBI, which had gathered a lot of evidence and was progressing well, the then political leadership of the home ministry transferred the case from one central agency to another, handing the case to NIA".

2007 Ajmer Dargah blast case: On October 11, 2007, a blast rocked the Dargah Khwaja Moinuddin Chishti in Rajasthan. This claim was supported by Rohini Salian, public prosecutor for the state of Maharashtra, who, in June 2015, had told The Indian Express that officials of the NIA had told her to "go easy" on the 2008 Malegaon accused. Two others - Sandeep V Dange and Ramchandra Kalsangra - are absconding, while Sunil Joshi was murdered.

As reported by Hindustan Times, the NIA took over the probe in 2011, and arrested four people linked to a Hindu extremist outfit.

Hyderabad MP Asaduddin Owaisi tweeted, "Judge who gave acquittal to all accused in Mecca Masjid Blast RESIGNS very intriguing and I am surprised with the Lordship decision".

In fact, the police - NIA in this case - in a way, cooperated with him and did not oppose his bail application either in Samjhauta train blast case or in Mecca Masjid blast case, which it should have done routinely.

BJP spokesperson Sambit Patra alleged in New Delhi that the Congress has long "defamed" Hindus for votes and demanded that party president Rahul Gandhi and his predecessor Sonia Gandhi apologise for using terms like "saffron terror" and "Hindu terror". Swami Aseemanand was accused of masterminding the attack, while senior RSS functionary Indresh Kumar's name also cropped up during investigations.

The court held that none of the charges framed against the accused were proved.

A total of 226 witnesses were examined during the trial, in the course of which 64 of them turned hostile. Aseemanand allegedly retracted the statement later.

The verdict was pronounced amidst tight security around the Nampally Courts Complex. where all the accused were present.

Sixth, and finally, the argument that since the chargesheet was prepared under Congress-led UP and hence the BJP government could not be accused of trying to influence prosecution does not wash.

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