Judge Resigns After Delivering Makkah Masjid Blast Case Verdict

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The powerful blast took place during the Friday prayers at the four-century-old mosque on May 18, 2007.

Swami Aseemanand, a saffron-robed monk who has been linked to three terror attacks, was among five men acquitted today in the 2007 blast in Hyderabad's Mecca Masjid.

Thus, all the five have been acquitted from all the charges after 11 years.

In fact, the police - NIA in this case - in a way, cooperated with him and did not oppose his bail application either in Samjhauta train blast case or in Mecca Masjid blast case, which it should have done routinely.

Apart from Aseemanand, those acquitted are - Devendra Gupta, Lokesh Sharma, Bharat Mohanlal Rateshwar alias Bharat Bhai and Rajendra Chowdhary. Ramchandra Kalsangra and Sandeep Dange were shown as absconding. "Higher courts will deal with the case, and if the investigative agencies work harder, the real culprits will soon be caught".

A SIM recovered from an unexploded bomb at Mecca Masjid blast site had matched with a phone used in the Ajmer Dargah blast. Five more were killed in police firing in violence that followed the blast. While the CBI had questioned Kumar when it had the case, the NIA gave a clean chit to Kumar in both cases.

Meanwhile, the NIA said it will decide on its future course of action after receiving a copy of the judgement. "That conspiracy has been exposed", said Sambit Patra, BJP spokesperson. Senior Congress leader Ghulam Nabi Azad said people were losing faith in NIA. Special public prosecutor Rohini Salian, who appeared for the NIA in the 2008 Malegaon blast case, revealed that the agency told her "to go soft" after the new NDA government took over at the Centre, as reported by The Hindu. AIMIM president Asaduddin Owaisi claimed that the NIA did not properly pursue the case, leading to the acquittal of the accused.

He also referred to former Under Secretary in the Ministry of Home Affairs RVS Mani's allegations that the investigation in Mecca Masjid case was carried out with "ulterior motives". Qs is what will be left of criminal justice system if such biased prosecutions continue (sic). "We have not got justice...it is the responsibility of the government to move the High Court against today's judgment and see to it that all of them are punished accordingly", he said. During the trial, 226 witnesses were examined in the court and 411 documents were produced. Those acquitted included Swami Aseemanand. The NIA had relied heavily on this statement.

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