Verdict on Mecca Masjid blast to be pronounced today

The blast, using an improvised explosive device, killed nine persons inside the masjid near the historic Charminar of Old City.

Ten people with alleged links to Hindu right wing organisations were accused in the case.However, only five of them who were acquitted today faced trial. Of the eight people who were charge sheeted, Swami Aseemanand and Bharat Mohanlal Ratneshwar aka Bharat Bhai were out on bail, and three people are still in jail.

Two other accused - Sandeep V Dange, a former RSS pracharak, and Ramchandra Kalsangra, electrician-cum-RSS activist from Madhya Pradesh - are still at large. He also got bail in the Samjhauta Express blast case of 2014. During my interaction with Kaleem I learnt that he was previously arrested in the Mecca Masjid bomb blast case and he had to spend about oneand- a-half years in prison.

Aseemanand's statement was used by investigators during the trial to prove the conspiracy.

The blast ripped through the mosque during Friday prayers.

There were 10 thousand people present during the blast in the mosque. Two live IEDs were found which were later defused by the Hyderabad Police. Subsequently, the National Investigation Agency (NIA) took over the case in 2011.

In November 2016, four important NIA witnesses turned hostile.

A special NIA court pronounced the verdict in the 2007 Mecca Masjid blast case today. One of the accused, Sunil Joshi, an RSS pracharak, was murdered during the course of investigation.

Hindu right-wing members Aseemanand, Devender Gupta, Lokesh Sharma, Bharatbhai and Rajender Chowdhary, who were charged by the NIA, were all acquitted.

March 23, 2017: Hyderabad court has granted Aseemanad bail on condition that he cannot leave Hyderabad and Secunderabad.

The defence advocate said that the judge at the fourth additional metropolitan sessions-cum-special court for NIA in his order observed that "not a single allegation levelled by the prosecution could be proved" and hence he declared all the accused acquitted.

(Copyright © 2015. All Rights Reserved.)
 
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