Mecca Masjid blast case: Aseemanand, others let off; top 10 developments

Swami Aseemanand, a former RSS member and Abhinav Bharat ideologue, was among those acquitted today by a special court in the 2007 Mecca Masjid blast case


A special National Investigation Agency(NIA) court in Hyderabad on Monday acquitted all the accused in the Mecca Masjid blast case. The Namapally Court’s judgment came in the case regarding the 2007 Mecca Masjid blast, which claimed nine lives. The fourth additional metropolitan sessions-cum-special court for NIA cases had concluded the trial and last week posted the case for judgment on April 16. The Mecca Masjid attack was allegedly carried out by a group of right-wing terrorists 11 years ago on May 18, 2007.

The accused who were acquitted on Monday are Devendra Gupta, Lokesh Sharma, Swami Aseemanand, Bharat Mohanlal Rateshwar, and Rajendra Chowdhary. Aseemanand, reported to have been a member of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh at one point, is an ideologue of the extremist Right-wing Hindu organisation Abhinav Bharat.

The blast, which took place during Friday prayers at the Mecca Masjid, adjacent to the historic Charminar in the Old Hyderabad City, had left nine people dead and 58 injured.

Here are the top 10 developments around the Mecca Masjid blast case verdict:

1) All Mecca blast accused let off: All the accused in the Mecca Masjid blast case were acquitted by the Namapally Court on Monday.

2) ‘No Hindu terror angle’: Reacting to the acquittal of all the accused in the Mecca Masjid blast case, former Under Secretary Ministry of Home Affairs RVS Mani said, “I had expected it.” Mani claimed that “all the pieces of evidence were engineered”, adding that “there was no Hindu terror angle”.

3) Lt Col Purohit declared hostile witness in Mecca Masjid blast case: Lt Col Prasad Purohit, an accused in the 2008 Malegaon blast case, on February 15, 2018, turned hostile while deposing in a Hyderabad court as a witness in the 2007 Mecca Masjid bomb blast case. Purohit had been listed as a witness by the CBI in the case related to the blast at the Mecca Masjid. The case was later taken over by the National Investigation Agency (NIA).

4) Aseemanand granted bail in Mecca Masjid blast case: A court on March 24, 2017, granted bail to Swami Aseemanand in the 2007 Mecca Masjid bomb blast case. The court had already granted bail to three others in the case.The court of Fourth Metropolitan Sessions Judge also granted bail to Bharat Mohanlal Rateshwar alias Bharat Bhai, a co-accused in the case. Special Judge Ravinder Reddy had granted bail to both Aseemanand and Rateshwar with the direction to produce two local sureties of Rs 50,000 each. Aseemanand had been directed by the judge to not leave Hyderabad without the court’s permission and remain present for the trial when required.

5) Mecca Masjid blast case’s brief chronology: The blast at the historic Mecca Masjid in Hyderabad on May 18, 2007, during Friday prayers had claimed nine lives and left 58 others injured. After initial investigation by local police, the case was transferred to the Central Bureau Of Investigation (CBI), which filed a charge sheet. Subsequently, the NIA took over the case from the CBI in 2011.

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