A special National Investigation Agency (NIA) court here on Monday acquitted all five accused in the 2007 Mecca Masjid bomb blast case.
Eleven years after the powerful explosion killed nine people and injured more than 50 during the Friday prayers near the iconic Charminar here, the court held that none of the charges framed against the accused were proved.
A lawyer of one of the accused told reporters outside the Nampally criminal court complex here that the court held that the prosecution failed to prove the charges.
Hindu right-wing members Aseemanand, Devender Gupta, Lokesh Sharma, Bharatbhai and Rajender Chowdhary, who were charged by the NIA, were all acquitted.
As it Happened:
02:12 pm: Police sounded an alert in Hyderabad following the judgement of a NIA court acquitting all five accused in the 2007 Makkah Masjid blast case. Police beefed up the security in the communally sensitive old city. More than 3,000 policemen and personnel of paramilitary forces were deployed as part of the security arrangements.
01:56 pm: BJP does not comment on the judgement of the court. We don't comment on working of the Indian judiciary. It's an independent body. Congress said the court was right at the time of 2G Verdict but labelling it wrong today: Sambit Patra, BJP on Mecca Masjid Verdict
It is now up to the Govt to examine order and decide if a further appeal is required. As it is a judicial matter I would not like to comment on it: Ashok Gehlot, Congress on #MeccaMasjidVerdict pic.twitter.com/Fkqr6M3udJ— ANI (@ANI) April 16, 2018
NIA is a deaf & blind TOTA they didn’t appeal against bail given to accused ,witness turned hostile after June 2014 IO couldn’t give proper statement so everything was done to fail the victims upshot is our fight against terrorism is weakened after Today’s acquittals https://t.co/fHnEMisqkE— Asaduddin Owaisi (@asadowaisi) April 16, 2018
12:49 pm: Justice has not been done, NIA and Modi government didn’t even appeal against bail that was given to accused within 90 days. This was a completely biased investigation which will weaken our resolve to fight terrorism: Owaisi
12:46 pm: We will examine the court judgment after we get a copy of the same and decide further course of action: NIA on all accused in Mecca Masjid blast case acquitted
# MMasjid Blast case verdict majority of witness turned hostile after June 2014 ,NIA didn’t pursue the case as expected from it /was not allowed by “Political Masters”Qs is what will be left of Criminal Justice system if such biased prosecutions continue Justice has nt been DONE— Asaduddin Owaisi (@asadowaisi) April 16, 2018
I had expected it. All the pieces of evidence were engineered, otherwise, there was no Hindu terror angle: RVS Mani, former Under Secretary, Ministry of Home Affairs on all accused in Mecca Masjid blast case acquitted pic.twitter.com/d8lDnqE5cG— ANI (@ANI) April 16, 2018
12:14 pm: The court acquitted all five accused, incuding Swami Aseemanand in the 2007 blast case that killed nine people.
09:55 am: Ten people allegedly belonging to right-wing organisations were named as accused in the case.
However, only five of them — Devendra Gupta, Lokesh Sharma, Swami Aseemanand alias Naba Kumar Sarkar, Bharat Mohanlal Rateshwar alias Bharat Bhai and Rajendra Chowdhary — were arrested and faced trial in the case.
09:45 am: Two other accused — Sandeep V Dange and Ramchandra Kalsangra — are absconding while another accused Sunil Joshi died. Investigations were continuing against two other accused.
09:40 am: A total of 226 witnesses were examined during the trial and as many as 411 documents were exhibited.
09:30 am: Swami Aseemanand and Bharat Mohanlal Rateshwar are out on bail while three others are lodged in the central prison in Hyderabad under judicial remand.
In March 2017, a court in Rajasthan had sentenced Gupta and another convict to life in jail in the Ajmer Dargah blast case.