Mecca Masjid Ac­cused Ac­quit­ted

Ver­dict Trig­gers Row Be­tween BJP & Congress

The Times of India (New Delhi edition) - - FRONT PAGE - Sri­nath.Vu­dali@ | BJP | Cong

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’

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