Aseemanand, four other accused in Mecca Masjid blast case acquitted

Aseemanand, four other accused in Mecca Masjid blast case acquitted

Varun Chirumamilla

Five of the accused in the Mecca Masjid blasts case dating back to 2007 have been acquitted by the fourth Additional Metropolitan Magistrate-cum-special NIA court in Hyderabad.

According to JP Sharma, who defended former Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh activist (RSS) Swami Aseemanand, the court cited lack of evidence in the case.

Those acquitted today included Aseemanand, Lokesh Sharma, Devendra Gupta, Bharat Rateshwar, and Rajendra Choudhary. One of the accused, former RSS activist Sunil Joshi was shot dead in December 2007, while two others, Sandeep Dange and Ramchanadra Kalsangra are absconding.

Sharma, who called the whole case a fabrication and a waste of judicial time said that the National Investigation Agency (NIA), which took over the prosecution of the case in 2011, could not even substantiate one allegation of the several that they had made. The case was initially investigated by the Hyderabad Police and then the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI).

Responding to questions on the Hindu terror angle to the case, he said that those were cooked up by the government of the time for political gain. He also added that the fate of the case of the two accused who are absconding could only be determined by the NIA.

The NIA told Asian News International (ANI) that they would decide on a further course of action after studying the judgment.

The 2007 blast claimed 14 lives – including five caused by police firing – and nearly 60 were injured. The bomb exploded during Friday prayers at the iconic mosque.

The old city of Hyderabad was tense today, with over 2000 police personnel deployed in sensitive areas, for fear of a reaction to the verdict. The city was calm at the time of publication.

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