Judge ac­quits all in ’07 blast, then quits

Cites ‘per­sonal rea­sons’ af­ter let­ting Aseema, four oth­ers off

DNA (Delhi) - - FRONT PAGE - DNA Cor­re­spon­dent cor­re­spon­dent@dnain­dia.net

New Delhi: Hyderabad’s spe­cial Na­tional In­ves­ti­ga­tion Agency (NIA) court judge K Ravin­der Reddy stunned ev­ery­one by re­sign­ing on Mon­day, hours af­ter he ac­quit­ted all five men, in­clud­ing Swami Asee­m­anand, in the high-pro­file Mecca Masjid blast case.

Nine peo­ple had been killed and 58 hurt when a pipe bomb ripped through the his­toric mosque in Hyderabad on May 18, 2007. Five oth­ers had been killed later as po­lice opened fire to quell a ri­ot­ing mob.

Reddy handed over his res­ig­na­tion to the Chief Jus­tice of Andhra Pradesh High Court. He cited per­sonal rea­sons for his res­ig­na­tion, and said it had noth­ing to do with Mon­day’s judg­ment. He said had been con­sid­er­ing re­sign­ing for quite some time, a ju­di­cial of­fi­cer told news agency PTI.

The oth­ers who were ac­quit­ted in the 11-year-old case be­cause of lack of ev­i­dence were for­mer RSS worker from Ra­jasthan, Deven­dra, Gupta, two for­mer RSS work­ers from Mad­hya Pradesh, Lokesh Sharma and Ra­jen­der Chowd­hary, besides Asee­m­anand’s al­leged as­so­ciate Bharat Mo­han­lal Ratesh­war.

Asee­m­anand and Ratesh­war are al­ready out on bail, while three oth­ers are in jail.

The court held that none of the charges framed against the ac­cused were proved. Po­lice sounded an alert in Hyderabad and stepped up se­cu­rity, as the ver­dict also trig­gered a po­lit­i­cal slugfest.

NIA said all the ac­cused be­longed to a group of Hindu ex­trem­ists led by RSS worker Su­nil Joshi who was shot dead on De­cem­ber 29, 2007, in Mad­hya Pradesh’s De­was town.

For­mer RSS worker San­deep Dange, RSS ac­tivist Ra­machan­dra Kal­san­gra and electrician Amit Chouhan are ab­scond­ing.

Asee­m­anand was ac­quit­ted last year in the 2007 bomb­ing of the Ajmer shrine in Ra­jasthan. He is be­ing tried on charges of in­volve­ment in the bomb at­tack on Samjhauta Ex­press train in 2007.

NIA said it will ex­am­ine the judg­ment and de­cide fur­ther course of ac­tion.

Ma­jlis-e-It­te­hadul Mus­limeen (AIMIM) pres­i­dent Asadud­din Owaisi said jus­tice has not been done and that NIA has been ma­li­cious and bi­ased. “Judge who gave ac­quit­tal to all ac­cused in Mecca Masjid Blast re­signs. Very in­trigu­ing and I am sur­prised with the Lord­ship’s de­ci­sion,” he tweeted.

BJP spokesper­son Sam­bit Pa­tra said in Delhi that af­ter the court’s ver­dict Congress lead­ers Rahul Gandhi and So­nia Gandhi should apol­o­gise for us­ing terms such as saf­fron ter­ror and Hindu ter­ror.

File photo of Asee­m­anand

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