Global Watch

MAKKAH Masjid Blast: All Accused Acquitted After 11 Yrs For Lack Of Evidence

ALL the 5 accused of the 2007 Makkah  Masjid blast  case on Monday were acquitted by a  National Investigation Agency (NIA) in Hyderabad for lack of evidence and after  some approvers turning hostile. The case was initiated by the then UPA Government after nine persons were killed and more than 50 others were injured during Friday prayer  in a  powerful explosion near the iconic Charminar in old Hyderabad  .The court held that none of the charges framed against the accused were proved. The explosion ripped through the mosque on May 18, 2007. Two live IEDs were also recovered by police and defused. Later, five more people were killed in police firing on the crowd protesting the barbaric incident outside the mosque. A lawyer for one of the accused told reporters outside the Nampally criminal court complex that the court held that the prosecution failed to prove the charges. Hindu right-wing members Aseemanand, Devendra Gupta, Lokesh Sharma, Bharatbhai and Rajendra Chowdhury were charged by the NIA. After initial investigation by the local police, the case was transferred to CBI in 2011 which had filed a chargesheet. Ten people allegedly belonging to right wing organisations were named as accused in the case. Only five of them — Devendra Gupta, Lokesh Sharma, Swami Aseemanand alias Naba Kumar Sarkar, Bharat Mohanlal Rateshwar alias Bharat Bhai and Rajendra Chowdhary were arrested. Sandeep V Dange and Ramchandra Kalsangra are absconding while another accused Sunil Joshi had died. A total of 226 witnesses were examined during the trial and as many as 411 documents exhibited. Meanwhile, Telangana Police sounded high alert in the city ahead of the verdict. Elaborate security arrangements were made at the Nampally Courts Complex where the NIA special court is located. The anti-sabotage teams inspected the complex on Sunday. Armed personnel from various wings of the State police were deployed and roads leading to the court, barricaded. Media person were barred entry into the court. The later received the inputs from the lawyers. The prosecution led by NIA’s Chief Public Prosecutor N Harinath had examined 226 listed witnesses. It is stated 64 of them, including Lt Col Shrikant Purohit, turned hostile in February last. Purohit claimed that his statement was never recorded by the CBI or NIA. NIA’s Special Public Prosecutor N Harinath told The Indian Express that Purohit was listed as witness to identify Swami Aseemanand, Sunil Joshi, Devendra Gupta and other accused, and prove that Aseemanand called him after the murder of Joshi, an accused in Ajmer Dargah blast case. After the verdict, RVS Mani, then Under Secretary in the Ministry for Union Home Affairs, said evidence was engineered. There was no Hindu terror angle. NIA will examine the court judgment after they get a copy. Further course of action will be decided only after that going through the verdict, says Republic TV.

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