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All Five Accused In Mecca Masjid Blast Acquitted

During the trial 64 witnesses, including Lt Col Shrikant Purohit, turned hostile, resulting in a judgement acquitting all the accused.
Hyderabad | 16th April 2018
The National Investigation Agency Special Court at Nampally today delivered its much-awaited judgment in the infamous Mecca Masjid bomb blasts case and acquitted five accused - Swami Asimananda, Bharat, Devendra Gupta, Rajendra and Lokesh Sharma - saying that the prosecution had failed to bring home their guilt.

During the trial, 64 witnesses, including Lt Col Shrikant Purohit, turned hostile, resulting in the acquittal of the all the accused.

For those uninitiated, on May 18, 2007, a tiffin-box-bomb exploded during the Friday prayers at Mecca Masjid near Charminar killing nine people. Another five died and 58 people were injured in the police firing in the post-explosion riots. The police took 11 years to investigate the case and examined 226 witnesses.

Immediately after the blast, the police had blamed Harkatul Jihad Islami and rounded up some 100 youths from different parts of the city. Several suspects were arrested and jailed. However, the CBI later revealed that the blast was the handiwork of right-wing Hindu groups.

In all, ten people allegedly belonging to right wing organizations, including Nabakumar Sirkar alias Swami Aseemanand, Devender Gupta, Lokesh Sharma alias Ajay Tiwari, Lakshman Das Maharaj, Mohanlal Rateshwar and Rajender Chowdhary, were named as accused in the case. Two accused, Ramchandra Kalsangra and Sandeep Dange, are still at large. A key accused and RSS functionary Sunil Joshi was shot during the investigation. Only five of the accused were arrested and chargesheeted in the case.

After preliminary investigations by the local police and the CBI, the case was transferred to the NIA, which took over probe into the case in April 2011.

After the verdict in the sensational case was delivered, the police tightened security in Hyderabad, especially in the communally sensitive Old City. More than 3,000 policemen and personnel of paramilitary forces were deployed. Senior police officials were monitoring the security arrangements at the historic mosque.

Deputy Commissioner of Police V Satyanarayana said that the department had taken all necessary measures to prevent any untoward incident. He said that the police would keep a close watch on the movements of people at sensitive places through CC cameras, and would deal firmly with any attempt to disturb the law and order.
filed in:  Mecca Masjid, Mecca Masjid Blast, NIA, Courts, Legal, Crime, Hyderabad Crime, Religion, Muslims, Terrorism, Terror Attacks
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