Mecca Masjid Accused Acquitted
Verdict Triggers Row Between BJP & Congress
Hyderabad: Eleven years after a bomb ripped through Mecca Masjid, killing nine people, the NIA special court acquitted all five accused in a much-awaited verdict in a packed courtroom on Monday. Now, the 2007 bombing remains a terror mystery with two premier agencies, the Central Bureau of Investigation and the National Investigation Agency, failing to gather evidence to nail the accused.
Around 11.30am, the operative portion of the judgment was read out by the fourth metropolitan sessions judge, K Ravinder Reddy, declaring acquittal of all five accused —
9 killed, 58 injured by IED blast during Friday prayers in Mecca Masjid
Case initially probed by local police before being transferred to CBI, and finally in 2011 to NIA
10 persons owing allegiance to right-wing organisations named as accused, but only 5 — Lokesh Sharma, Aseemanand, Devendra Gupta, Bharat Mohanlal Rateshwar and Rajendra Chowdhary — arrested. Three persons absconding, one died and chargesheet pending
Special NIA judge K Ravinder Reddy says not a single allegation levelled by the prosecution could be proved, acquits all 5 Swami Aseemanand, head of the Vanvasi Kalyan Ashram, RSS vibagh pracharak Devendra Gupta, RSS karyakarta Lokesh Sharma, Hindu Vichar Manch member Bharath Mohanlal Rateshwar and Rajendar Chowdhary, a farmer. Nine people died in the May 18, 2007 blast and another five we- re killed in police firing after violence erupted.
The judge said he had carefully examined documents and material evidence placed on record and declared none of the allegations could be proved against any of the accused. “Hence, all five accused stand acquitted,’’ the judge said. This (acquittal) has been happening in each case since this government was formed four years ago... people are losing faith in agencies such as the NIA
— Ghulam Nabi Azad
FULL COVERAGE: P8
While BJP said Congress’ defamation of Hindus through false narratives about “saffron terror” to serve political goals had been exposed, Congress said its party functionaries never used the phrase “saffron terror”.
For its appeasement politics, the Congress targeted and defamed Hindus... Rahul and Sonia Gandhi must apologise for terms like ‘Hindu terror’