Judge who acquitted all accused in Mecca Masjid blasts case resigns

Swami Aseemanand and Bharat Mohanlal Rateshwar are out on bail in 2007 Mecca Masjid blast while three others are lodged in the central prison in Hyderabad under judicial remand

Swami Aseemanand and Bharat Mohanlal Rateshwar are out on bail in 2007 Mecca Masjid blast while three others are lodged in the central prison in Hyderabad under judicial remand

Though there were a total of 10 accused in the case, only five were charge-sheeted by the NIA. In all, nine Muslim men were accused and arrested by the Maharashtra anti-terrorist squad (ATS), of which one died in an accident in 2001. Only five accused faced trial as two are still absconders. It brings back the memories that I witnessed when the blast first went off in 2007. He told television channels that accused in several cases were acquitted since the BJP-led government was formed at the Centre four years ago.

In March 2017, a court in Rajasthan had sentenced Gupta and another convict to life in jail in the Ajmer Dargah blast case.

In a dramatic development that sparked intense speculation in the legal circle, special court judge Ravinder Reddy resigned from his office within hours of delivering the verdict. Ramchandra Kalsangra and Sandeep Dange were shown as absconding.

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As reported by Hindustan Times, the NIA took over the probe in 2011, and arrested four people linked to a Hindu extremist outfit.

2007 Mecca Masjid blast case: In the afternoon of May 18, 2007, at around 1:15 pm, a pipe bomb ripped through the 17th-century Mecca Masjid of Hyderabad, which is located in the old city area, close to Charminar.

Majlis Bachao Tahreek (MBT), a regional political party, has strongly condemned the acquittal of all five accused in the Mecca Masjid bomb blast case, and described it as a major blow to fight against terrorism. Interestingly, Swami Aseemanand is a former RSS member who had given a signed confession about his involvement. The acquittal follows a disturbing pattern where key witnesses have turned hostile in related cases and NIA has chosen to remain a mute spectator.

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He said nothing incriminating was recovered from any of the accused, and that there was no corroboration to the "confessional" statement of Aseemanand. The BJP demanded an apology from the Congress, Rahul Gandhi and Sonia Gandhi, for "defaming Hindus" while the Opposition party, in turn, questioned the impartiality of the National Investigation Agency under the Modi government.

According to Aseemanand's counsel Sharma, the court after examining documents and material placed on record found that the charges did not stick.

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