NIA Court Judge Ravinder Reddy who acquitted five accused in the Mecca Masjid case questioned the NIA’s claim that Swami Aseemanand had a change a heart and confessed to planning the bomb blast at the Mecca Masjid.
In the operative part of his judgment, the judge dismissed the confession given by Aseemanand in Delhi as extrajudicial and taken under duress by the CBI investigating officer, who investigated the case first before the NIA took over. The judge also questioned the CBI’s claim of a conversation between Shaik Abdul Kaleem and Maqbool Bin Ali, two youths who were arrested on suspicion of involvement in anti-national activities, and Aseemnanand at the Chanchalguda Jail in which the key accused allegedly apologised and confessed his role in the blast. The judge said that the NIA could not prove beyond doubt that Aseemanand and Kaleem were in the same jail at the same time.
The judge also observed that Kaleem was under police surveillance and he had turned police informer. Based on these two points, the judge dismissed the NIA’s charges. “Aseemanand also retracted the statement given before a Delhi judge on December 18, 2010,” the judge observed.
Dismissing the case against Devender Gupta and NIA’s charge that he was highly communal, the Judge noted that by just being a member of the RSS, one does not become communal. “RSS is not a proscribed organisation. If anyone works for it, it does not mean it gives scope to become communal and anti-social,” the judge observed. The prosecution failed to prove that Lokesh Sharma procured the two mobile handsets that were used in the blast, the judge said adding that much of the evidence presented by CBI was not trustworthy.
In the verdict, the first accused (A1 Devendra Gupta), second accused (A2 Lokesh Sharma), sixth accused (A6 Aseemanand), seventh accused (A7 Bharat Rateshwar) and eighth accused (A8 Rajender Chowdary) are found not guilty for the offences punishable under sections 120B IPC, 302 IPC read with 120B IPC, 307 IPC read with 120B IPC, 326 IPC read with 120B IPC, Section 13 read with Section 23 of the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, 1967, Section 16 read with Section 23 of the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, 1967, Section 18 read with Section 23 of the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, 1967, Section 3 of the Explosive Substances Act, 1908 read with Section 23 of the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, 1967 and Section 4 of the Explosive Substances Act read with Section 23 of the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, 1967. The sixth accused (Aseemanand) is also found not guilty for the offence punishable under Section 19 of Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, 1967. Therefore, in terms of Section 235(1) CrPC A1, A2, A6, A7 and A8 are acquitted and the bail bonds of A6 and A7 shall stand cancelled. The A1, A2 and A8 shall be set at liberty forthwith if they are not required in any other case, the judgment states.