Makkah Masjid blast case: All accused including Aseemanand, acquitted

Makkah Masjid blast case: All accused including Aseemanand, acquitted

Hyderabad: A special National Investigation Agency (NIA) court in Hyderabad on Monday acquitted all accused in the sensational Makkah Masjid blast case.

All five key accused including Aseemanand, Devender Gupta, Lokesh Sharma, Bharatbhai, Rajender Chowdhary are acquitted by the Namapally Court due to lack of evidence.

A lawyer of one of the accused told reporters outside the Nampally criminal court complex here that the court held that the prosecution failed to prove the charges.

The bomb blast took place at the Makkah Masjid which is adjacent to the historic Charminar in the Old City during Friday prayers was allegedly carried out by a group of right-wing terrorists 11 years ago on May 18, 2007 killed nine people and injured more than 50.

The NIA took over the case from the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) in 2011, in which ten persons allegedly belonging to right-wing organisations were named as accused.

Monday’s judgement was about five accused who were chargesheeted by NIA.

A total of three chargesheets were filed by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) and the NIA in the sensational case that took many twists and turns.

The city police, which initially took up investigation, blamed Harkatul Jihad Islami and rounded up about 100 Muslim youths. All those arrested and jailed were acquitted in 2008 and the subsequent investigations by the CBI in 2010 revealed that the blast was the handiwork of Hindu rightwing group Abhinav Bharat. The case was handed over to NIA on April 4, 2011.

The fact-finding committee of the National Minorities Commission found that the innocent youth were arrested on charges of terrorism and police kept them in illegal confinement and tortured them.

In 2012, the government of then united Andhra Pradesh paid a compensation of Rs.3 lakh each to 26 people who were acquitted and Rs 20,000 each to 50 people others were let off the police after questioning.

According to the chargesheet, the accused were “angered by terrorist attacks committed on Hindus and their temples” and conspired to “avenge” such acts with attacks on Muslim places of worship and places densely populated by Muslims.

The chargesheet also mentioned that Aseemanand made a confessional statement before a metropolitan magistrate in Delhi.

He had allegedly disclosed the conspiracy behind the bomb blasts in different places, including Makkah Masjid. Aseemanand allegedly retracted the statement later.

Aseemanand was first arrested by the CBI in 2010 but was granted conditional bail in 2017 in the case. He was earlier acquitted in Ajmer Dargah blast case and also got bail in the Samjhauta Express blast case of 2014.

Agencies inputs