5, including Swami Aseemanand, acquitted in 2007 Mecca Masjid blast case

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5, including Swami Aseemanand, acquitted in 2007 Mecca Masjid blast case

NIA special Court can now hear the verdict in this case after 11 years of blasts in Hyderabad's Mecca Masjid. As many as nine persons died in the blast and another five in the subsequent firing by the police to control violent protests by the mob.

However, only five of them namely Devendra Gupta, Lokesh Sharma, Swami Aseemanand, Bharat Mohanlal Rateshwar and Rajendra Chowdhary were arrested and faced trial in the case.

The blast ripped through the mosque during Friday prayers. One of the accused, Sunil Joshi, an RSS pracharak, was murdered during the course of investigation.

Two other accused, former RSS pracharak Sandeep V. Dange and RSS activist and electrician Ramchandra Kalsangra, also from Madhya Pradesh, have been eluding the investigators. Investigation is continuing against two other accused. A special court of the National Investigation Agency in Hyderabad pronounced its verdict in the case on Monday, April 16.

In the immediate aftermath of the Mecca Masjid blast on May 18, 2007, the Hyderabad police picked up more than 30 Muslim men on suspicion. In March 2017, a Rajasthan court had sentenced Gupta and another convict to life imprisonment in the Ajmer dargah blast case.

Owaisi took to Twitter to express his outrage over the verdict alleging that the NIA didn't pursue the case because of the "political masters".

Joshi was shot dead in 2007.

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.

Given the highly sensitive background of the case, police have deployed almost 200 police personnel including armed men in the city mainly at communally sensitive points.

The defence advocate said that the judge at the fourth additional metropolitan sessions-cum-special court for NIA in his order observed that "not a single allegation levelled by the prosecution could be proved" and hence he declared all the accused acquitted.

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