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All the accused in 2007 Mecca Masjid blast case acquitted

Team SoOLEGAL 17 Apr 2018 3:52pm

All the accused in 2007 Mecca Masjid blast case acquitted

Hyderabad: Citing lack of evidence, Justice Ravinder Reddy of special court of National Investigation Agency (NIA) in Hyderabad acquitted all the accused-Swami Aseemanand, three former RSS workers - Devendra Gupta, Lokesh Sharma and Rajender Chowdhary -- and Bharat Mohanlal Rateshwar in 2007 Mecca Masjid blast case. The accused were charged under sections 302, 307, 326 and 324 read with 120 (B) IPC, Sections of Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, 1967, and Sections of Explosive Substances Act, 1908.

In the blast that happened on Friday the May 18, 2007 during Friday prayers left nine dead and  58 injured. Another five people were killed in police firing which took place in the violence that erupted after the blast.

Justice Ravinder Reddy dismissed the case stating that NIA has failed to provide evidence to substantiate charges against the accused. During the trial, the NIA court examined 226 witnesses of whom 66 witnesses turned hostile. The NIA exhibited as many as 411 documents during the trial. However the Judge resigned from his position hours after the decision.

Earlier,  lawyer for the accused B Rajvardhan Reddy told media after the judgement at the Nampally criminal courts complex, “The judge observed that the prosecution could prove not a single allegation leveled by the agency, and hence he declared all the accused acquitted.”

However, the cases against three other accused, Ramachandra Kalasangara, Sandeep V Dange and Amith Chouhan, who are absconding, as well as another accused Tejaram Parmar, who was facing trial in another case, will continue as their names were not there in original chargsheet. Person by the name of Sunil Joshi was also named as accused but he was murdered in mysterious circumstances in Dewas, MP on December 9, 2007, so the charges against him were dropped.

Given the gravity of the incident the then Andhra Government had in June 2007 transferred the case to Central Bureau of Investigation. In 2011 CBI handed over the case to NIA. Initially the Hyderabad police considered the blast handiwork of Harkat-ul-Jihad-e-Islami (HuJI), a fundamentalist group supported by Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI).Hundreds of boys were picked up for investigation and 13 were chargsheeted. Police named Bilal, with links to Huji as prime suspect. He was later killed in shoot-out. However the boys were acquitted in 2009 after a long trial.

Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen president and Hyderabad MP Asaduddin Owaisi accused the National Investigation Agency of deliberately weakening the case so as to allow the accused to walk free.

Tagged: Hyderabad blast case   NIA   CBI  
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