The National Investigative Agency (NIA) is not going to appeal against the trial court judgment acquitting Swami Assemanand in the Mecca Masjid blast case from 2007, according to media reports.
#BREAKING CNN-News18 MEGA #EXCLUSIVE | NIA won’t appeal in higher court against acquittal of Swami Aseemanand in Mecca Masjid case: Sources to CNN-News18 | @manojkumargupta, @Zakka_Jacob #with details | #MeccaMasjidCase pic.twitter.com/L0ta02AygV
— News18 (@CNNnews18) May 29, 2018
Sources in the NIA reportedly told CNN-News18 that three of the 18 points in the judgement are "tough to contest", which is why the agency will not challenge the Hyderabad court's verdict.
"The judgment by the trial court is sound and there is no evidence against the accused persons at all. So I am sure the judgment was read by the concerned officials and they decided to not contest it," J Sharma, lawyer of Aseemanand, told CNN-News18.
Last month, all five people accused in the 2007 Mecca Masjid blast case were acquitted by the special court due to lack of direct evidence. NIA had then said that it will examine the court judgment after it gets a copy of the same, and decide further course of action.
Days later, the anti-terror court held that the confessional statement of Aseemanand to the police, which he retracted later, was not voluntary. The NIA court also maintained that a person cannot be considered "communal or anti-social" only because of links to the RSS, which is not a banned organisation.
The court also dismissed the prosecution's claim that Aseemanand had confessed to his guilt to two inmates of a prison, saying the CBI, which initially probed the case, had not provided any documentary evidence to back its charge.
"Except the oral testimony of PW (prosecution witness) 104 and PW 105, there is no other record to show that they haven been in Chanchalguda Jail when Aseemanand was lodged there," the court said.
Nine persons were killed and 58 were injured in the blast during Friday prayers at the historic mosque in Hyderabad on 18 May, 2007. Five persons were killed in subsequent police firing near the mosque as protests broke out after the blast. The case, that has been linked with the 2007 Ajmer Sharif Dargah blast, 2008 Malegaon blasts, and the Samjhauta Express attack, has seen many twists and turns in the course of investigation in the last 10 years — from witnesses turning hostile to the lack of evidence.
Ten persons allegedly belonging to right-wing organisations were named as accused in the case. However, only five of them — Devendra Gupta, Lokesh Sharma, Swami Aseemanand alias Naba Kumar Sarkar, Bharat Mohanlal Rateshwar alias Bharat Bhai and Rajendra Chowdhary — were arrested and faced trial in the case. Two other accused — Sandeep V Dange and Ramchandra Kalsangra — are absconding, while another accused Sunil Joshi died. Investigations were on against two other accused.
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Updated Date: May 29, 2018 14:08:46 IST