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Mecca Masjid blast: How the prosecution's case crumbled

Mecca Masjid blast: How the prosecution’s case crumbledBy Sagar Kumar Mutha, Srinath Vudali, U Sudhakar Reddy, TNN|Updated: Apr 17, 2018, 11.23 AM IST

The majority of these witnesses belonged to places like Jharkhand and Indore from where many accused in the case hailed from.
HYDERABAD: The ‘shoddy’ investigation carried out by the three investigative agencies that probed the Mecca Masjid blast conclusively led to the prosecution’s case collapsing like a pack of cards and acquittal of all accused, insiders say. With the result that even 11 year s after the incident, there is no clarity as to who actually carried them out.
The case was probed by the Hussaini Alam police for the first two months. Police pointed the finger of suspicion on Bangladesh-based Harkat-ul Jihad al-Islami and rounded up a few local youths on the charge that they triggered the blasts.
The CBI then took over the case and, in the first chargesheet, named a few persons belonging to RSS and Hindu Vichar Manch, including Aseemanand of Chhattisgarh-based NGO Vanvasi Kalyan Ashram, as accused. The case was then taken over by the NIA from the CBI in 2011 and over the next three years, the NIA filed three supplementary chargesheets.
“The witnesses produced by the prosecution and the testimony of Assemanand and his retraction later doomed the case for the state in the Mecca Masjid Case,” top investigative sources told TOI.
Out of the 226 witnesses cited by the NIA to prove its case, only 66 of them were crucial whose statements were capa ble of showing serious bearing on the result of the case. All the remaining witnesses were either doctors who conducted the post-mortem on the deceased in the blasts and police firing, or probe officials who attended panchnama, etc.
However, even the 66 witnesses turned hostile and rendered the NIA helpless. The majority of these witnesses belonged to places like Jharkhand and Indore from where many accused in the case hailed from. “These witnesses were teachers and small traders who said they knew the accused and their plans. But with their disinclination to sail with the prosecution midway, the balance was titled in favour of the accused,” said the sources.
Added to the key witnesses turning hostile was the confession fiasco of Aseemanand, key accused in the case. He had deposed before a Delhi magistrate in 2010 stating that he had carried out the blast as he was upset over the attacks on temples that targeted Hindus. Further, Asseemand told the magistrate that since the Nizam of Hyderabad opted to merge with Pakistan at the time of independence, he chose Hyderabad as the target in order to “punish” the city for siding with Pakistan. Aseemanand’s statement was recorded under Section 164 of the CrPC by the Delhi judge.
However, in 2011, Aseemananda wrote a letter to a Hyderabad court judge retracting the statement he made before the Delhi judge. “I made the statement confessing to my involvement in the Mecca Masjid case owing to pressure from CBI,” he said.
The sources told TOI that the NIA judge who delivered the verdict on Monday completely disregarded the statement made by Aseemanand before the Delhi judge. “This, coupled with the witnesses turning hostile, led to the prosecution’s case collapsing like a pack of cards,” they said.
There were other issues too. The prosecution relied on the statement of an alleged jail mate of Aseemanand who claimed that the latter confided in him about the conspiracy behind the M ecca Masjid blast. But the NIA could not even show proof that this witness was in jail along with Aseemanand.

(This article was originally published in The Times of India)

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