Swami Aseemanand acquitted in Hyderabad Mecca Masjid blast case

NIA release Aseemanand accused in Mecca Masjid blast in Hyderabad in 2007
NIA release Aseemanand accused in Mecca Masjid blast in Hyderabad in 2007

New Delhi : A special court of the National Investigation Agency (NIA) conducted on April 16, released five men, including Swami Aseemanand, accused of being involved in the Mecca Masjid blast in Hyderabad in 2007 that killed at least sixteen people.

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 also among the acquitted. Chowdhary is also from Madhya Pradesh.

The Mecca Masjid blast happened on May 18, 2007 inside the Mecca Masjid, a mosque located in the old city area of Hyderabad. The blast was caused by a cellphone-triggered pipe bomb placed near the Wuzukhana, a spot where ablutions are performed. 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. All the five men were present in the court hearing, today.

“We will examine the court judgment after we get a copy of the same and decide further course of action,” an NIA official was quoted as saying by news agency ANI.

The NIA Court today, acquitted all 11 who were accused in the blasts, due to lack of evidence.

Following the judgement, the Hyderabad police have beefed up security in the communally sensitive old city. More than 3,000 policemen and personnel of paramilitary forces were deployed.

Deputy Commissioner of Police V Satyanarayana said police would keep a close watch on the movement of people at sensitive places through CCTV cameras. He said the police would deal tightly with any attempt to disturb law and order.

Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen president Asaduddin Owaisi said justice has not been done and that it was a “malicious and biased” prosecution done by NIA.

“NIA did not deliberately pursue the case. When the accused got the bail, NIA did not appeal seeking cancellation of bail within the mandatory period of 90 days. This itself shows the prosecution was so biased,” the member of Parliament from Hyderabad said.

“I blame it entirely on the Narendra Modi government and NIA for failing to bring the accused to book and let the criminal off. It is a failure of the Modi government,” he said.

The Hyderabad Police handled the investigation initially and suspected Harkat-ul-Jihad-e-Islami (HuJI), a Pakistan-based terrorist group, might be involved in Mecca Masjid blast.