Verdict major blow to fight against terror, says Muslims

Verdict major blow to fight against terror, says Muslims

However, the pitch was queered to some extent in the evening with special NIA judge Ravindra Reddy, who delivered the verdict, resigning under mysterious circumstances.

Court today acquitted all the accused in the Mecca Masjid bomb blast case.

On May 18, 2007, a powerful blast killed nine people and injured 58 during Friday prayers at Mecca Masjid near Hyderabad's Charminar.

After the initial investigation by the Andhra Pradesh police, the case was transferred to the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI), which filed a chargesheet. The NIA took over the case from the CBI in 2011. There were a total of 10 accused in the case and five of them were chargesheeted by the NIA. There were five accused in the Court and they were Aseemanand, Guptha, Sharma, Rateshwar and Chowdary, who faced trial and were acquitted. Ramchandra Kalsangra and Sandeep Dange were shown as absconding.

He earlier in the day declared all the accused in the case as not guilty. After the acquittals, the Congress questioned the functioning of the NIA under the Modi government.

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The NIA investigation over a period of nearly one year established that the entire conspiracy was hatched between 2005 and 2007 by Aseemanand and his associates, including the late Sunil Joshi and their associates at different places including Gujarat and Madhya Pradesh. So far NIA has not been able to find clinching evidence against anyone guilty of orchestrating the Mecca Masjid Dargah blast. One of them, Sunil Joshi, a former member of Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) was murdered while the case was still under investigation.

Owaisi has accused the NIA of shoddy probe, and said the agency did not "even challenge" bail given to some of the key accused during the trial.

The party also alleged that the investigative agencies were being used as a rubber stamp by the Bharatiya Janata Party-led government at the Centre. Right from beginning we had been placing before the court that this is not the statement of confession. The then UPA government had dubbed the case as one of "Hindu terror". The BJP said it had exposed the Congress' appeasement politics and proved that there is "no such thing as saffron terror".

Patra demanded that Congress president Rahul Gandhi and his predecessor Sonia Gandhi apologise for defaming Hindus.

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