Five accused in Mecca Masjid bomb blast case acquitted

Five accused in Mecca Masjid bomb blast case acquitted

NEW DELHI: A special anti-terror court here today acquitted right-wing activist Swami Aseemanand and four others in the 2007 Mecca Masjid blast case, ruling that the prosecution failed to prove charges against them.nnA massive blast had ripped through the Mecca Masjid on May 18, 2007, during Friday prayers, killing nine people and wounding 58.nnThe Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) arrested Aseemanand on 19 November 2010 for his involvement in the Mecca Masjid bombing. On 24 December 2010, he was handed over to the National Investigation Agency (NIA).nnAssemanand was acquitted in 2007 Ajmer sharif dargah blast case by NIA court on 8 March 2017.nnAseemanand’s counsel, J P Sharma, told reporters after the verdict by a metropolitan court for NIA cases that “The prosecution failed to prove allegations against the five accused who faced trial in the case and hence the court acquitted them,”nnThose acquitted are: Devendra Gupta, Lokesh Sharma, Swami Aseemanand alias Naba Kumar Sarkar, Bharat Mohanlal Rateshwar alias Bharat Bhai and Rajendra Chowdhary, Sharma said.nnThe case was initially probed by the local police before being transferred to the CBI, and finally in 2011 to the NIA, the country’s premier anti-terror investigation agency.nnTen people with alleged links to Hindu right wing organisations were accused in the case.However, only five of them who were acquitted today faced trial.nnTwo other accused — Sandeep V Dange and Ramchandra Kalsangra — are absconding, while Sunil Joshi was murdered.nnInvestigation is continuing against two other accused.nnA total of 226 witnesses were examined during the trial and as many as 411 documents exhibited.nnSwami Aseemanand and Bharat Mohanlal Rateshwar were out on bail, while three others were lodged in the Central prison here under judicial remand.nnWith Press Trust of India inputs

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