A special National Investigation Agency (NIA) court today acquitted five accused, including Aseemanand, in the 2007 Mecca Masjid citing lack of evidence against the accused. “The judge in his order observed that not a single allegation levelled by the prosecution could be proved, and hence he declared all the accused acquitted,” said JP Sharma said outside the Nampally criminal court complex.
Though 10 persons were named as accused in the case, only five of them, Lokesh Sharma, Aseemanand, Devendra Gupta, Bharat Mohanlal Rateshwar alias Bharat Bhai and Rajendra Chowdhary were arrested in connection with the incident.
On May 18, 2007, a bomb blast occurred at the Mecca Masjid claimed the lives of 8 persons and injured at least 58 other people. The case was first handed over to the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI), after the local police investigation. The CBI had filed a charge sheet and the NIA took over it in 2011.
The judgement came eleven years after the incident. Soon after the verdict, BJP spokesperson Sambit Patra addressed a press conference, demanding an apology from the Congress for its infamous ‘saffron terror’ rant against Hindus. Following the blast, Congress had coined the term ‘saffron terror’ which was meant to show the peace-loving Hindu society in a bad light. “Saffron terror was a very derogatory term. Will Rahul Gandhi step out with a candle at midnight to apologise for it,” Patra asked.
Welcoming the verdict, RVS Mani, former under-secretary in the Ministry of Home Affairs, said there was nothing like Hindu terror and all the pieces of evidence were fabricated. “I had expected it. All the pieces of evidence were engineered, otherwise, there was no Hindu terror angle…People who perpetrated the attack were protected through misuse of the Agency (NIA), this is what is alarming. How do you compensate those who suffered and were maligned? Will Congress or anyone else who propagated this theory compensate them?” RVS Mani told news agency ANI.
Reacting to the court verdict, Asaduddin Owaisi said in a tweet that “Justice has not been done, NIA and (Narendra) Modi govt didn’t even appeal against bail that was given to accused within 90 days…this was a completely biased investigation which will weaken our resolve to fight terrorism…9 people died many (were) injured.”