Judge Resigns After Delivering Makkah Masjid Blast Case Verdict

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

BJP National Spokesperson GVL Narasimha Rao criticised Javed Akhtar on Twitter after the lyricist mocked the National Investigative Agency (NIA) over the Mecca Masjid case following a special court verdict acquitting all accused in lack of evidence.

Special National Investigation Agency (NIA) judge Ravinder Reddy reportedly submitted his resignation to the Chief Justice of Telangana.

Hyderabad MP and AIMIM leader Asaduddin Owaisi blamed the "Centre-controlled" NIA of deliberately weakening the case against the accused, leading to their acquittal. However, only five - Devendra Gupta, Lokesh Sharma, Swami Aseemanand, Bharat Mohanlal Rateshwar and Rajendra Chowdhary - were arrested.

However, the NIA in its 2013 charge-sheet in the 2006 Malegaon blasts case left out Aseemanand as the agency did not find any link. The court didn't even frame charges in the case, and discharged all accused eight persons, including Pragya Singh Thakur past year. All the five accused were present in the court when the verdict was pronounced.

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Sandeep V Dange and Ramchandra Kalsangra, who were also accused in the incident, are absconding. A total of three chargesheets were filed by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) and the NIA in the sensational case.

He earlier in the day declared all the accused in the case as not guilty.

In the first two months of investigations, Hyderabad police, which shot five, rounded up almost 200 young Muslim youths from across the city.

Aseemanand, whose real name is Nabakumar Sarkar, is also accused in the Malegaon and Samjhauta Express blast cases. Joshi, a key accused in the case, was shot dead by unknown assailants in 2007 in Devas, Madhya Pradesh.

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Pratibha Ambedkar, who was pursuing the case, was transferred back to her home state before completing the 5-year fixed tenure for officers on deputation to the NIA, fuelling rumours. He said that justice had not been done to the deceased in the case.

The BJP lost no time in saying that the Congress defamation of Hindus had been exposed, the Congress reiterated its party functionaries never used the term "saffron terror".

According to Aseemanand's counsel J.P. Sharma, the court ruled his client had made his alleged confession, on which the case was based, under duress. Without going into whether Modi government tried to do so or not, the fact is certainly could do it. Letting witnesses go and not following up evidence, not contesting bails, and not arguing the prosecution case properly, among others, are all possible.

Former NIA Director-General Sharad Kumar, who oversaw the trial in this case, refused to comment.

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