Hyderabad, Apr 16: A special National Investigation Agency (NIA) court on Monday acquitted all five accused, including Swami Aseemanand, in the 2007 Mecca Masjid bomb blast case. A total of 10 persons were named as the accused in the Mecca Masjid bomb blast case, however, only five – Aseemanand, Devender Gupta, Lokesh Sharma, Bharatbhai and Rajender Chowdhary – were arrested and faced trial. Following the verdict, RVS Mani, former under-secretary in the Ministry of Home Affairs, said there was no Hindu terror angle and evidence were engineered, while AIMIM chief Asaduddin Owaisi called the NIA a ‘deaf and blind parrot’.

I had expected it. All the pieces of evidence were engineered, otherwise, there was no Hindu terror angle…People who perpetrated the attack were protected through misuse of the 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?” RVS Mani told news agency ANI. Asaduddin Owaisi took to Twitter and said justice was denied to the victims of Mecca Masjid bomb blast following the acquittal of all accused. The AIMIM chief questioned how several witnesses turned hostile after 2014.

“Justice has not been done, NIA and (Narendra) Modi govt didn’t even appeal against bail that was given to accused within 90 days…this was a completely biased investigation which will weaken our resolve to fight terrorism…9 people died many (were) injured,” Owaisi tweeted. “NIA is a deaf and blind TOTA (parrot), they didn’t appeal against bail given to accused, witness turned hostile after June 2014 IO (investigating officer) couldn’t give proper statement so everything was done to fail the victims… upshot is our fight against terrorism is weakened after today’s acquittals,” he further posted.

The Congress party, which was in power at the Centre when the NIA charged all the accused in the Mecca Masjid bomb blast case, played safe and refrained from commenting on the verdict. “It is now up to the government 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,” Congress leader Ashok Gehlot said. The NIA, which took over the case from the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) in 2011, said it will examine the judgment and then decide further course of action. A total of 226 witnesses were examined during the trial and as many as 411 documents exhibited.

A powerful explosion killed nine people and injured more than 50 during the Friday prayers near the iconic Charminar in Hyderabad on May 18, 2007. The explosion ripped through the mosque. Two live IEDs were also recovered by police and defused. Later, five more people were killed in subsequent police firing on the crowd outside the mosque.