Aseemanand gets his second acquittal
Acquitted in Mecca Masjid blast, the Swami now faces trial only in the 2007 Samjhauta Express train blast case
Hyderabad: A special antiterror court on Monday acquitted Hindutva preacher Swami Aseemanand and four others in the 2007 Mecca Masjid blast case, holding that the prosecution failed to prove “even a single allegation” against them, lawyers said.
“Prosecution (NIA) could not prove even a single allegation against any of the accused and all of them stand acquitted,” JP Sharma, the counsel for Assemanand, told reporters quoting special judge for NIA cases K Ravinder Reddy who delivered the verdict amid tight security.
Media was barred entry in the courtroom during the pronouncement of the judgment in the high-profile case, dubbed as one of ‘Hindu terror’, a term that riled the BJP and saffron outfits no end.
Aseemanand was acquitted last year in the 2007 Ajmer Dargah terror attack. He is an accused in the 2007 Samjhauta blasts case.
Others acquitted are – Devendra Gupta, Lokesh Sharma, Bharat Mohanlal Rateshwar alias Bharat Bhai and Rajendra Chowdhary.
Though there were 10 accused in the case, only these five were tried. Two other accused – Sandeep V Dange and Ramchandra Kalsangra – were absconding, while Sunil Joshi was murdered. Investigation is continuing against two others.
The bomb had exploded in an area of the mosque where devotees performed ablutions. Two more IEDs were later found and defused.
The incident had triggered protests and riots, prompting police action in which five more people were killed.
The case was initially probed by the local police before being transferred to the CBI, and finally the NIA, the country’s premier anti-terror investigation agency.
The NIA spokesperson said the agency will decide its future course of action after going through the order.
Security alert issued
In the wake of the verdict, a security alert was issued and vigil stepped up in the city here to prevent any untoward incident. Over 1,500 personnel drawn from different wings of the Hyderabad City Police were deployed in strategic locations in the Old City.
It (acquittal) is happening in each case since the government was formed four years ago... people are losing faith in the agencies.
Ghulam Nabi Azad, Congress leader
Police secure the historic Mecca Masjid in old city of Hyderabad on Monday after a Special NIA court acquitted all accused in 2007 Mecca Masjid blast case, including Hindutva preacher Swami Aseemanand.