A war of words ensued between Bharatiya Janata Party-led Centre and Opposition parties after all the accused in Mecca Masjid blast case were acquitted by a special National Investigation Agency (NIA) court on Monday over lack of cliching evidence
“I had expected it. All the pieces of evidence were engineered, otherwise, there was no Hindu terror angle,” said RVS Mani, former Under Secretary, Ministry of Home Affairs. "People who perpetrated the attack were protected through misuse of agency (NIA). This is what is alarming. How do you compensate those who suffered and were maligned? Will Congress or anyone else who propagated this theory compensate them," he added.
BJP spokesperson Sambit Patra also questioned Congress' silence on the matter.
“BJP does not comment on the judgement of the court. We don't comment on working of the Indian judiciary. It's an independent body. Congress said the court was right at the time of 2G Verdict but labelling it wrong today,” said Patra.
Meanwhile, Congress leader Ashok Gehlot said, “It is now up to the Govt to examine order and decide if a further appeal is required. As it is a judicial matter I would not like to comment on it.”
“I don't know what details were there in the chargesheet, have heard the witnesses turned hostile, neither we know what sort of cross-questioning was done,” said Former Home Minister Shivraj Patil.
“Justice is delayed and denied. Innocent people who were killed in the blast have not got justice. We still have faith in our agencies and hope the real culprits are caught,” said Mohammad Irfan, the man who spotted the second bomb at Hyderabad's Mecca Masjid and reported it to the bomb squad.
Eleven years ago, on May 18, 2007, a powerful blast killed nine people and injured 58 during Friday prayers at Mecca Masjid near Hyderabad’s Charminar.
The NIA took over the case from the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) in 2011. At the time, 10 people were named as accused by the central probing agency. However, only five – Devendra Gupta, Lokesh Sharma, Swami Aseemanand, Bharat Mohanlal Rateshwar and Rajendra Chowdhary – were arrested.
Two accused persons – Sandeep V Dange and Ramchandra Kalsangra – are still absconding. Another accused Sunil Joshi was murdered during the probe.
A total of 226 witnesses were examined during the trial and as many as 411 documents were exhibited.
In March 2017, a court in Rajasthan had sentenced Gupta and another convict to life in jail in the Ajmer Dargah blast case.