Hyderabad: Eleven years after a bomb blast killed nine worshippers at the historic Mecca Masjid in Hyderabad, a special anti-terror court on Monday acquitted all the five accused, including Hindutva preacher Swami Aseemanand.
Besides Nabakumar Sarkar alias Swami Aseemanand, Bharat Mohanlal Rateshwar alias Bharat Bhai, Devender Gupta, Rajender Chowdhary, and Lokesh Sharma were acquitted. Later in the day, special NIA court judge K Ravinder Reddy sent the resignation letter to the Chief Justice of the Hyderabad High Court.
Shortly afterwards, the judge who ordered the acquittals tendered his resignation, citing “personal reasons”. The move was described as “intriguing” by All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen (AIMIM) chief and Hyderabad MP Asaduddin Owaisi.
The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), meanwhile, said the verdict exposed the Congress’ appeasement politics. The AIMIM and Congress, however, slammed the acquittal.Talking to reporters outside the court complex, a lawyer for one of the accused said that the National Investigation Agency court held that the prosecution could not prove “even a single allegation” against the five accused.
The powerful blast took place during the Friday prayers at the four-century-old mosque on May 18, 2007. The explosion had taken place in an area of the mosque where devotees performed ablutions. Police had found two more Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs) and defused them.