Asee­m­anand gets his sec­ond ac­quit­tal

Ac­quit­ted in Mecca Masjid blast, the Swami now faces trial only in the 2007 Samjhauta Ex­press train blast case

DNA (Delhi) - - INDIA - DNA & Agen­cies —PTI

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.

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