All Accused Acquitted In Mecca Masjid Blasts Case

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A special court of the National Investigation Agency (NIA) conducted on April 16, released five men, including Swami Aseemanand, accused of being involved in the Mecca Masjid blast in Hyderabad in 2007 that killed at least sixteen people.

Earlier in the day, he had acquitted five accused including right-wing activist Swami Aseemanand, citing lack of evidence provided by the NIA against them.

The pipe bomb explosion at the historic Mecca Masjid in Hyderabad had killed eight and left 58 others injured.

Sandeep V Dange and Ramchandra Kalsangra, who were also accused in the incident, are absconding. All those arrested and jailed were acquitted in 2008 and the subsequent investigations by the CBI in 2010 revealed that the blast was the handiwork of Hindu rightwing group Abhinav Bharat. In 2011, the NIA took over the case. Ten persons allegedly belonging to right-wing organisations were named as accused in the case.

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Commenting on the acquittal, former under secretary at Home Affairs ministry, RVS Mani also claimed that NIA had engineered the evidence to give the case a Hindu terror angle. "I was very moved by Kaleem's good conduct and my conscience asked me to do prayschit (penance) by making a confessional statement so that real culprits can be punished and no innocent has to suffer".

"Our main focus was that this was a politically motivated case, and all the accused were falsely framed", Advocate JP Sharma said at a press conference here. The trial against the accused had resulted in the conviction of only three - Sunil Joshi, Devendra Gupta and Bhavesh Patel.

A report by NDTV said that there were some corruption cases against him and he may have resigned to divert attention as some ACB raids were expected on him. "CBI had got the statement of Swami Aseemanand recorded in Delhi while he was in police custody during December 2010", he said. "Let's see what the government does or the investigating agency does.NIA completely failed to establish the truth behind the blast", Raja said. Of the 230 witnesses examined by the prosecution, 35 turned hostile.

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