The special NIA court in Hyderabad on Monday acquitted five accused in the Mecca Masjid blast case. Citing lack of evidence, the court said that the investigation agnecy had failed to prove anyone’s guilt. Ten persons, all members of Abhinav Bharat, including Nabakumar Sirkar alias Swami Aseemanand; Devender Gupta; Lokesh Sharma alias Ajay Tiwari, Lakshman Das Maharaj, Mohanlal Rateshwar and Rajender Chowdhary were named as accused in the case. Two accused, Ramchandra Kalsangra and Sandeep Dange, are still absconding. A key accused and RSS functionary, Sunil Joshi, was shot when the case was being investigated.
The pipe bomb explosion at the historic Mecca Masjid in Hyderabad killed eight and left 58 others injured. Five others were also killed after police opened fire to control a rioting mob during the Friday prayers in Mecca Masjid on May 18, 2007.
After an initial investigation by the local police, the case was transferred to CBI, which filed a chargesheet. The NIA took over the probe in April 2011. A total of 226 witnesses were examined during the trial and as many as 411 documents exhibited. During the examination, 64 of them, including Lt Col Shrikant Purohit, turned hostile.