All 5 persons accused in Hyderabad Mecca Masjid blast case acquitted
HYDERABAD: A special National Investigation Agency (NIA) court on Monday acquitted all the ten persons in Hyderabad Mecca Masjid blast case, including Swami Aseemanand. “All accused persons have been acquitted,” said the defence lawyer, adding that a copy of the judgement will be available after 15 days.
Ten persons are – Nabakumar Sirkar alias Swami Aseemanand, Devender Gupta, Lokesh Sharma alias Ajay Tiwari, Lakshman Das Maharaj, Mohanlal Rateshwar and Rajender Chowdhary. All of them are members of right-wing Hindu organization Abhinav Bharat.
The Hyderabad-based court set them free over lack of evidence.
Reacting to the development, former Under Secretary, Ministry of Home Affairs RVS Mani said, “I had expected it. All the pieces of evidence were engineered, otherwise, there was no Hindu terror angle.”
Eleven years ago, on May 18, 2007, a powerful blast killed nine people and injured 58 during Friday prayers at Mecca Masjid near Hyderabad’s Charminar.
The NIA took over the case from the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) in 2011. At the time, 10 people were named as accused by the central probing agency. However, only five – Devendra Gupta, Lokesh Sharma, Swami Aseemanand, Bharat Mohanlal Rateshwar and Rajendra Chowdhary – were arrested.
Two accused persons – Sandeep V Dange and Ramchandra Kalsangra – are still absconding. Another accused Sunil Joshi was murdered during the probe.
A total of 226 witnesses were examined during the trial and as many as 411 documents were exhibited.
In March 2017, a court in Rajasthan had sentenced Gupta and another convict to life in jail in the Ajmer Dargah blast case.