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Acquittals put NIA in dock

19 April 2018, 01:54 | Melanie Burgess

2007 Mecca Masjid blast: All accused, including Swami Aseemanand, acquitted

Swami Aseemanand and Bharat Mohanlal Rateshwar are out on bail in 2007 Mecca Masjid blast while three others are lodged in the central prison in Hyderabad under judicial remand

The National Investigation Agency court held that none of the charges framed against the accused, including Swamy Aseemanand, had been proved, a lawyer for one of the accused told reporters outside the court complex. Ten persons allegedly belonging to right-wing organisations were named as accused in the case. Investigation against two others - Tejram Parmar and Amith Chowhan - is still on.

On April 16, judge K Ravinder Reddy acquitted all five of them for want of evidence, hours before resigning from his office (he is facing corruption charges).

Well, the court said that lack of evidence against all the accused such as Swami Aseemanand, former Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) worker from Rajasthan Devendra Gupta, two other former RSS workers -Lokesh Sharma and Rajender Chowdhary -from Madhya Pradesh and Bharat Mohanlal Rateshwar were the reason of acquitted verdict. "Besides, he added that evidence offered by Aseemanand's confession got further weakened as it was being used against a co-accused", the former NIA official said.

"MMasjid Blast case verdict majority of witness turned hostile after June 2014, NIA didn't pursue the case as expected from it/was not allowed by Political Masters".

Investigating agencies later linked the Samjhauta Express train blast that happened in February 2007, Ajmer Sharif Dargah blast of October 2007 and Mecca Masjid blast to the same network. The Congress had then demanded that all cases being handled by the NIA be monitored by the Supreme Court to ensure that there was "no pressure" on the agency.

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The NIA took over the case from the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) in 2011. His letter was sent to the Chief Justice of the Hyderabad High Court. "The UPA government victimised our saints".

Besides Salian's revelation, there's also the case of NIA officer Pratibha Ambedkar who was mysteriously dropped from the case a few weeks ago. Many aspects of the NIA probe have remained questionable. In October 2017, Akhtar had asked Rao, "May I ask Mr GVl Narasimha Rao to name the historians (besides RSS Shakhas) who are his source of information about the Mughals" following the BJP leader's comment about the Mughals.

Both parties are locked in a furious back-and-forth in the wake of the Mecca Masjid case verdict, with the BJP demanding apologies from Sonia and Rahul Gandhi for their party's alleged use of the terms "Hindu terror" and "saffron terror" to "defame Hindus globally".

The acquittals gave the Saffronist BJP party an opportunity to take a dig into Congress by saying that it had been proved that there is "no such thing as saffron terror".

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