Judge who gave Mecca Masjid blast verdict was under no pressure: Ex-government official

MHA former Under Secretary RVS Mani on Tuesday said that the resignation submitted by Special NIA Judge Ravinder Reddy, who had delivered the verdict in Mecca Masjid blast case, was not under any pressure. Special NIA judges are not appointed by Centre, he added.

Judge who gave Mecca Masjid blast verdict was under no pressure: Ex-government official
ANI photo

NEW DELHI: MHA former Under Secretary RVS Mani on Tuesday said that the resignation submitted by Special NIA Judge Ravinder Reddy, who had delivered the verdict in Mecca Masjid blast case, was not under any pressure. Special NIA judges are not appointed by Centre, he added.

"Special NIA judges are not selected by Centre. There is no way in which centre can pressurise a sessions judge. If he is saying he has resigned for personal reasons, we must respect that," said RVS Mani, MHA former Under Secretary.

Mani's statement comes a day after Special NIA Judge Ravinder Reddy submitted his resignation to the Chief Justice of Andhra Pradesh.

Earlier on Monday, a special NIA court chaired by Reddy had acquitted all the 10 accused including Swami Aseemanand in the Hyderabad's Mecca Masjid blast case citing a lack of evidence.

The 10 persons include - Nabakumar Sirkar alias Swami Aseemanand, Devender Gupta, Lokesh Sharma alias Ajay Tiwari, Lakshman Das Maharaj, Mohanlal Rateshwar and Rajender Chowdhary. All of them are members of right-wing Hindu organization Abhinav Bharat.

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.

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