Mecca Masjid blast verdict: Despite confession, NIA failed to get proof against IED ‘planter’

In his alleged confession, Rajender Chowdary stated that on May 17, 2007 he and Tejoram Parmar arrived in a train from Bhopal in an unreserved compartment, carrying two IEDs in two bags.

Written by Sreenivas Janyala | Hyderabad | Updated: April 24, 2018 5:44:27 am
mecca masjid, mecca masjid blast case, nia judge, nia special court, k ravinder reddy, mecca masjid blast verdict, makkah masjid hyderabad, indian express Eight persons were killed in the blast in Mecca Masjid in Hyderabad on May 18, 2007 (Photo by Raj Dayal)

The National Investigation Agency (NIA) failed to gather evidence to show that Rajender Chowdary and Tejoram Parmar were in Hyderabad on May 18, 2007, when the blast took place at the city’s Mecca Masjid, killing nine people, despite a confessional statement by Chowdary that he and Tejoram had planted two IEDs at the mosque.

Chowdary had also drawn a rough sketch of places they visited in the vicinity as part of their recce.

In his April 16 verdict acquitting all the accused in the blast case, NIA court judge K Ravinder Reddy observed that the prosecution failed to connect Chowdary to the blast, and therefore it was not proven that he had planted the bomb.

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Chowdary was the eighth accused in the case, and was acquitted along with the others. Tejoram was not chargesheeted.

Chowdary was arrested from Ujjain in December 2012. He was in NIA’s custody in Hyderabad from March 11-26, 2013, in connection with the Mecca Masjid case. On March 14, 2013, Chowdary allegedly made a full confession before NIA officers and witnesses — two Central Excise inspectors — at NIA’s Begumpet office.

In his alleged confession, Chowdary stated that on May 17, 2007 he and Parmar arrived in a train from Bhopal in an unreserved compartment, carrying two IEDs in two bags. They allegedly got off at Hyderabad’s Nampally station and went to Charminar area.

According to the alleged confession, they moved around Charminar and Mecca Masjid area as part of a recce and entered the mosque at 7 am on May 18, 2007 in the guise of pilgrims. Chowdary allegedly planted one bomb and Tejoram another — the latter did not explode — and escaped.

Besides stating that they travelled in a train from Bhopal to Hyderabad, Chowdary also drew a sketch of all the places he and Tejoram visited, including Nampally station, Charminar and Mecca Masjid. They were taken by the NIA team to all those places to reconstruct the scene.

In his order, Judge Reddy noted that no incriminating evidence was recovered by NIA to connect Chowdary to the Mecca Masjid case. “No incriminating material was found in pursuance to the statement of A8 (accused number 8 Chowdary) connecting him with the Mecca Masjid blast case. The alleged confession of A8 is not admissible in the evidence, and it is hit by Section 26 of Evidence Act. In terms of Section 27 of Indian Evidence Act, if by any reason of statements made by accused some facts have been discovered, some would be admissible against person who made the statement — (that is) the information must relate distinctly to the fact discovered. “In other words, articles recovered must be shown to have been connected with the offence.”

But, the court observed, “Here nothing is seized or recovered, or any few facts is disclosed in pursuance of the statement of A8. Thus, the prosecution failed to prove as accused A8 planted the bomb along with Tejoram at Mecca Masjid on May 18, and there is no other corroborative piece of evidence connecting to A8 to the crime in this matter.”

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