HYDERABAD: The criminal courts complex at Nampally is going to be nothing short of a fortress on Monday as a special NIA court is expected to pronounce the verdict in the 2007 Mecca Masjid blast case. “Acting on standard operating procedures, access control, media management etc are put in place,” said DCP P Vishwa Prasad.
On Sunday, a meeting of all zonal Deputy Commissioner’s of Police (DCPs) was convened at the city police headquarters, and all ACPs and inspectors have been directed to keep vigil and take all precautionary measures in their jurisdiction. The Special Branch have identified hundreds of sensitive and hyper-sensitive places across the city and police inspectors have been instructed to keep close vigil.
The blast on May 18, 2007, was caused by a cellphone-triggered pipe bomb placed near wazukhana, a spot where ablutions are performed. Soon after the blast, a special investigation team was constituted by the then Hyderabad police commissioner Balwinder Singh to probe the blast.
The SIT picked up over 125 muslim youths from across the Old City and interrogated them. Almost all of them were detained at a guest house and they alleged torture at the hands of SIT. Later, all were acquitted by a local court for lack of evidence.
Later, the blast turned out alleged handy work of activists belonging to right wing organsations. The fourth additional metropolitan sessions-cum-special court for NIA cases had concluded the trial and last week posted the case for judgement on April 16.
After initial investigation by the local police, the case was transferred to the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI), which filed a charge sheet. Subsequently, the National Investigation Agency (NIA) took over the case from the CBI in 2011.
Ten persons allegedly belonging to right-wing organisations were named as accused in the case.
However, only five of them — Devendra Gupta, Lokesh Sharma, Swami Aseemanand alias Naba Kumar Sarkar, Bharat Mohanlal Rateshwar alias Bharat Bhai and Rajendra Chowdhary — were arrested and faced trial in the case.
Two other accused — Sandeep V Dange and Ramchandra Kalsangra — are absconding while another accused Sunil Joshi died.
A total of 226 witnesses were examined during the trial and as many as 411 documents were exhibited. Swami Aseemanand and Bharat Mohanlal Rateshwar are out on bail while three others are lodged in the central prison here under judicial remand.
In March 2017, a court in Rajasthan had sentenced Gupta and another convict to life in jail in the Ajmer Dargah blast case.