A special anti-terror court in Hyderabad on Monday acquitted right-wing activist Swami Aseemanand and four others in the 2007 Mecca Masjid blast case. Acquitting the accused, the NIA court ruled that the prosecution failed to prove charges against them.
Nine people were killed and 58 were left wounded in a massive blast in the Mecca Masjid on May 8, 2007.
“The prosecution failed to prove allegations against the five accused who faced trial in the case and hence the court acquitted them,” Aseemanand’s counsel JP Sharma told after the verdict.
Those acquitted are: Devendra Gupta, Lokesh Sharma, Swami Aseemanand alias Naba Kumar Sarkar, Bharat Mohanlal Rateshwar alias Bharat Bhai and Rajendra Chowdhary, Sharma said.
The case was initially probed by the local police before being transferred to the CBI, and finally in 2011 to the NIA, the country’s premier anti-terror investigation agency.
Ten people with alleged links to Hindu right wing organisations were accused in the case. However, only five of them who were acquitted today faced trial. Two other accused — Sandeep V Dange and Ramchandra Kalsangra — are absconding, while Sunil Joshi was murdered.
Investigation is continuing against two other accused. A total of 226 witnesses were examined during the trial and as many as 411 documents exhibited.
Swami Aseemanand and Bharat Mohanlal Rateshwar were out on bail, while three others were lodged in the Central prison in Hyderabad.
(With inputs from PTI)