Special court acquits all 5 held in 2007 Mecca Masjid blast case

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NIA special Court can now hear the verdict in this case after 11 years of blasts in Hyderabad's Mecca Masjid.

The blast, which took place at Mecca Masjid near the iconic Charminar in Hyderabad during the Friday prayers at 1:25 pm on May 18, 2007, was caused by a cellphone-triggered pipe bomb placed near the Wuzukhana (where devotees perform ablutions) of the mosque. It was allegedly carried out by a group of right-wing terrorists.

10 people were named as accused in the case. Of the eight people who were charge sheeted, Swami Aseemanand and Bharat Mohanlal Ratneshwar aka Bharat Bhai were out on bail, and three people are still in jail.

The incident had left 58 others injured. Another accused Sunil Joshi was murdered during the probe.

However, the major twist in the case came in 2010, when Aseemanand, apparently moved by the plight of framed, innocent Muslim men, chose to come clean about the role of Hindu extremists in the blast.

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The CBI came upon the role of Hindu right wing organisations from one unexploded Improvised Explosive Device found inside the mosque, and arrested Gupta and Lokesh Sharma. The Delhi judge, before whom Aseemanand recorded his statement, also appeared before the Nampally court as a witness in the Mecca Masjid case.

Subsequently, the National Investigation Agency (NIA) took over the case from the CBI in 2011. A Rajasthan court had sentenced Devendra Gupta and another convict to life imprisonment in the Ajmer dargah blast case in March, 2017.

February 15, 2018: Lt Col Prasad Purohit, an accused in the 2008 Malegaon blast case and a witness in Mecca Masjid bomb blast case, turned hostile February 14. Incidentally, the bomb planted by Tejaram did not explode and it was this bomb which gave the investigators the breakthrough in the case.

The fourth additional metropolitan sessions-cum-special court for NIA cases had concluded the trial in the 2007 case and last week posted the matter for judgment on April 16.