Mecca Mosque Case Blows Up On Proof

HYDERABAD: Eleven years of protracted investigations by two premier agencies and Hyderabad police fell flat on Monday after the special NIA court threw out the case, citing no evidence. So why was there no clincher to nail the accused?
Witnesses produced by the prosecution and the testimony of key accused Aseemanand and his retraction later spelt doom for the case, top investigation officials told TOI. Of 226 witnesses cited by NIA to prove its case, only 66 were crucial whose statements were capable of showing serious bearing on the result of the case. All remaining witnesses were either doctors, who conducted the autopsy on deceased in the blasts and police firing, or investigation officials who did the panchnama. However, even these 66 witnesses turned hostile and rendered NIA helpless. Majority of them belonged to Jharkhand and MP from where some accused hailed from. Added to key witnesses turning hostile was the confession fiasco of , key accused in the case. Aseemanand deposed before a Delhi magistrate in 2010 stating he carried out the blast as he was upset over attacks on temples that targeted Hindus. Also, he told the magistrate that since the Nizam of Hyderabad opted to merge with Pakistan during independence, he chose Hyderabad as the target to punish the city for siding with Pakistan. Aseemanand’s statement was recorded under Section 164 of CrPC by Delhi judge.

However, in 2011, Aseemanand wrote to a Hyderabad court judge retracting the statement he made before the Delhi judge. “I made the statement confessing to my involvement in the Blast owing to pressure from ,” he said. Sources told TOI, the NIA judge who delivered the verdict on Monday, completely disregarded the statement made by Aseemanand before the Delhi judge. “This, coupled with witnesses turning hostile, led to the prosecution’s case collapsing like a pack of cards,” they said.

There were other issues too that contributed to the failure of the prosecution, which relied on the statement of an alleged jail mate of Aseemanand, who claimed the latter confided in him about the conspiracy behind the Mecca Masjid blast. But NIA could not even show proof that this witness was in jail along with Aseemanand. Likewise, NIA claimed they recovered the key to the box used to trigger the Mecca Masjid Blast from one Tejaram, but forensic examination established the key did not belong to the box linked to the blast.

Similarly, SIM cards meant to be used as blast triggers in Mecca Masjid were linked to one Babulal Yadav as they were found out to be bought on with his name. But NIA could not link this Babulal to any of the accused in the case. This happened despite the fact that Babulal’s name figured in the Ajmer blasts case too. In 2017, a Jaipur court acquitted and six others in the Ajmer blasts case. And on Monday, all the accused in the Mecca Masjid blast case too were acquitted.

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