Makkah Masjid blast case: All five accused acquitted

Makkah Masjid blast case: All five accused acquitted

The NIA court's verdict in the 2007 Mecca Masjid blasts case will be out shortly.

According to media reports, the investigation agency listed 226 prosecution witnesses, of which 64 turned hostile, including Lieutenant Colonel Shrikanth Purohit, who was an accused in the 2008 Malegaon blast case.

Eleven years since a bomb ripped through Hyderabad's#Mecca Masjid, killing nine people and injuring many others, the NIA court has acquitted all the accused for the lack of evidence.

A powerful explosion took place 11 years ago on May 18, 2007 during the Friday prayers near the Charminar monument in Hyderabad. Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) worker from Rajasthan Devendra Gupta, Madhya Pradesh property dealer Lokesh Sharma, an employee of a private company in Gujarat Bharat Mohanlal Rateshwar and farmer Rajender Chowdhary were accused in the case. Two accused, Ramchandra Kalsangra and Sandeep Dange, are still absconding. The NIA said that there was no direct proof that the blast, which killed nine and injured 58, had been orchestrated by them.

The attack was carried out by a cellphone-triggered pipe bomb and two more IEDs were found at the mosque and diffused.

Swami Aseemanand, a monk who has been linked to three terror attacks, was among five men acquitted. In the blast case, the CBI had first arrested Aseemanand in 2010, but in 2017 they got conditional bail.

The BJP leader noted that then home minister Shinde had used the term "saffron terror" and "Hindu terror" in his address at a 2013 Congress conclave in Jaipur in which then Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi were present. One, Sunil Joshi, a RSS pracharak, was murdered during the course of investigation.

While Swami Aseemanand and Bharat Mohanlal Rateshwar are out on bail, the other 3 are lodged in the Central Prison in Hyderabad under judicial remand. After this, the matter was handed over to the NIA by the CBI in 2011.

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