Mecca Masjid blast verdict: Aseemanand, four other accused acquitted by special NIA court

The NIA Court at Nampally Court Complex on Monday acquitted five accused in Mecca Masjid blast case of May 18, 2007. Citing lack of evidence and prosecution’s failure to prove any of the charges made by the CBI and NIA, the Fourth Additional Metropolitan Sessions cum NIA Court acquitted five main accused.

The court dismissed the case against Devendra Gupta alias Bobby alias Ramesh who was out on bail but in judicial custody in other cases; Lokesh Sharma alias Ajay Tiwari alias Ajay alias Kalu who is out on bail but in judicial custody in other cases; Nabakumar Sarkar alias Swamy Aseemanand alias Ramdas who was granted bail on March 23, 2017; Bharat Mohanlal Rateswar alias Bharatbhai Mohanlal Rateswar who is out on bail; and Rajendhar Chowdary alias Samundhar alias Dasarath alias Lakshman Das Maharaj who is in judicial custody. The sixth accused Sunil joshi died under mysterious circumstances in December 2007. The seventh and eighth accused Sandeep V Dande and Ramchandra kalsangra are absconding so the verdict remains pending on them.

“The court noted that the prosecution could not prove its case; no evidence was presented to prove the conspiracy. Five accused who were arrested have been acquitted by the court today,’’ B Rajvardhan Reddy, defence lawyer said.

The pipe bomb explosion at the historic Mecca Masjid in Hyderabad killed eight and left 58 others injured. Five others were also killed after police opened fire to control a rioting mob during the Friday prayers in Mecca Masjid on May 18, 2007. Hyderabad Police detained at least 38 Muslim youths on suspicion of being involved in the planning and execution of the blast.

After an initial investigation by the local police, the case was transferred to CBI, which filed a chargesheet. The NIA took over the probe in April 2011. A total of 226 witnesses were examined during the trial and as many as 411 documents exhibited. The trial in the case was completed last week.

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