Mecca Masjid blast case: NIA court acquits Swamy Aseemanand, four others

India Majlis-e Ittehadul Muslimeen president Asaduddin Owaisi addressing the media in Hyderabad last year. Owaisi has claimed that many witnesses in the Mecca Masjid blast case turned hostile after 2014 when the BJP came to power

A special NIA court in Hyderabad Monday acquitted five persons, including Swami Aseemanand, in the 2007 Mecca Masjid blast case.

Aseemanand allegedly retracted the statement later. "It is very demeaning for the struggle against terrorism", Karat told CNN-News18. It is important that on May 18, 2007, at noon, 27 minutes, there was a blast during prayer, in which five people died on the spot.

The powerful blast caused by a cellphone-triggered pipe bomb rocked Hyderabad's iconic 17th-century mosque left nine people killed and 58 persons injured.

There were many twists and turns in the investigation of the attack on the Masjid, which is adjacent to the historic Charminar in the Old City.

10 people were named as accused in the case.

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Owaisi took to Twitter to express his outrage over the verdict alleging that the NIA didn't pursue the case because of the "political masters". Meanwhile, two other accused in the case, Sandeep V Dange and Ramchandra Kalsangra, are now missing.

The NIA examined a total of 226 witnesses during the trial and as 411 documents were exhibited.

The 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. The acquittal has set off a fresh political tug of war, with leaders like Congress's Ghulam Nabi Azad, CPM's Brinda Karat and AIMIM's Asaduddin Owaisi accusing the National Investigation Agency (NIA) of failing to get victims justice.

The fourth additional metropolitan sessions-cum-special court for NIA cases had concluded the trial and last week posted the case to tomorrow for judgement. Sadhvi Pragya, one of the accused in the 2008 Malegaon blasts case, was tried for his murder, but acquitted in February 2017.

Ten persons are - Nabakumar Sirkar alias Swami Aseemanand, Devender Gupta, Lokesh Sharma alias Ajay Tiwari, Lakshman Das Maharaj, Mohanlal Rateshwar and Rajender Chowdhary. Earlier, he was acquitted in the Ajmer dargah blast case.

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