Mecca Masjid blast case: 5 acquitted

Swami Aseemanand and 4 others found not guilty

By Author  |  Published: 17th Apr 2018  12:01 amUpdated: 17th Apr 2018  12:24 am
Mecca Masjid
Swami Aseemanand walks out of court premises in Hyderabad on Monday. —Photo: IANS

Hyderabad: A special court for National Investigation Agency (NIA) cases here on Monday acquitted all the five accused, including right-wing activist Swami Aseemanand, in the 2007 Mecca Masjid bomb blast which snuffed the lives of nine persons.

In a packed court hall at the Nampally criminal court complex, the court of the Fourth Additional Metropolitan Sessions Judge and Special Judge for NIA cases found the five persons – Devendra Gupta, Lokesh Sharma, Swami Aseemanand alias Naba Kumar Sarkar, Bharat Mohanlal Rateshwar alias Bharat Bhai and Rajendra Chowdhary, who faced trial in the case, not guilty and acquitted all of them of the charges.

On May 18, 2007 (Friday), during afternoon prayers at the iconic Mecca Masjid near Charminar, a bomb was placed under a heavy marble platform and was triggered by a mobile phone, killing nine people. Later on, an unexploded Improvised Explosive Device (IED) was also recovered and was defused near an open ground.

Speaking to mediapersons after the verdict, Aseemanand’s advocate JP Sharma said the court after examining entire documents and materials placed on record before it found that none of the allegations made by the NIA could be proved against any of the five persons.

Thus, all the five have been acquitted from all the charges after 11 years. “The NIA could not prove even a single allegation against any of the five and all of them stand acquitted,” Sharma said.

Ten people with alleged links to right-wing organisations were accused in the case. However, only five of them who were acquitted on Monday faced trial. Two others – Sandeep V Dange and Ramchandra Kalsangra – are absconding, while Sunil Joshi was murdered. Investigation is continuing against two other suspects in the case.

A total of 226 witnesses were examined during the trial and as many as 411 documents were exhibited. Aseemanand and Bharat Mohanlal Rateshwar were out on bail, while three others who were lodged in the central prison here are facing cases in other parts of the country.