A special National Investigation Agency (NIA) court at Nampally on Monday acquitted all accused in the Mecca Masjid blast case. The blast took place on May 18, 2007, at Mecca Masjid in Hyderabad during Friday prayers that killed 8 people and 58 were left injured. It was allegedly carried out by a group of right-wing terrorists.
The NIA took over the case from the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) in 2011, in which ten persons were named as accused.
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. Two other accused- Sandeep V Dange and Ramchandra Kalsangra- are absconding, while one of the accused, Sunil Joshi was allegedly murdered while the case was being investigated. The remaining two accused are also untraceable.
Here is the timeline of the Mecca Masjid blast case:
May 18, 2007: On this day, at around 1:15 pm, a pipe bomb exploded at the Mecca Masjid in Hyderabad, killing eight people and injuring 58 others.
June 2010: CBI named RSS activist Sunil Joshi as an accused. He was, however, shot dead by three unknown assailants on December 29, 2007.
November 19, 2010: Naba Kumar Sarkar alias Swami Aseemanand, a member of Abhinav Bharat, was arrested from Haridwar for his alleged role in the Mecca Masjid blast. Assemanand has been embroiled in other blast cases as well.
2010: CBI arrested other accused namely Devender Gupta and Lokesh Sharma.
December 18, 2010: Aseemanand confessed before the court that he was involved in Mecca Masjid blast.
April 2011: The NIA took over the case from the CBI.
March 23, 2017: Aseemanad granted bail by Hyderabad court, paving way for his release from jail after seven years.
March 31, 2017: Aseemanad was acquitted in the Ajmer Dargah bomb blast case.
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.
- He told the court that his statement was never recorded by either of the two probe agencies investigating the case.
April 16, 2018: All accused acquitted by special NIA court.