Mecca Masjid blast case: All accused acquitted by special NIA court

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

The massive bomb-blast at the Mecca Masjid in Hyderabad on May 18, 2007, during Friday prayers, had killed nine persons and also left 58 others injured. Later, all were acquitted by a local court for lack of evidence. Five more people were killed in police firing to control the agitated crowd after the blast. In the blast case, the CBI had first arrested Aseemanand in 2010, but in 2017 they got conditional bail. The blast had claimed around 9 lives. The case was handed over to NIA on April 4, 2011.

Patra also raked up several comments by Congress leaders and a USA diplomatic cable which had allegedly quoted Rahul Gandhi as saying that radicalised Hindu groups posed a bigger danger to the country. They are Sandeep V Dange and Ramchandra Kalsangra. Out of these, five had been arrested.

The firebrand MP alleged that the Modi government did not even appeal against the bail given to the accused earlier. There were five accused in the court on Monday. The incident, which occurred in the courtyard of the dargah, popular as Ajmer Sharif, took place during the holy month of Ramzan just before Iftar festivities were to begin.

There were 10 thousand people present during the blast in the mosque.

While initial investigations pointed towards the role of Pakistan terror outfit Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT), later it was found that members affiliated with the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), were behind the blast.

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Reacting to the court verdict, BJP spokesperson Sambit Patra alleged that the Congress has long "defamed" Hindus for votes and demanded that party president Rahul Gandhi and his predecessor Sonia Gandhi apologise for terms such as "saffron terror" and "Hindu terror". "I heard about some Muslim boys being arrested and then someone said a Hindu group and (Swami) Aseemanand were involved", Riyaz told The Indian Express.

As a report in The Times of India points out, key witnesses have retracted their statements against the RSS functionaries in the Mecca Masjid blast case.

Those acquitted were Swami Aseemanand a.k.a. Naba Kumar Sarkar, Devendra Gupta, Lokesh Sharrma, Bharat Mohanlal Rateshwar a.k.a Bharat Bhai and Rajendra Choudhary.

In November 2016, four important NIA witnesses turned hostile. Swami Aseemanand was acquitted in that case.

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