After 11 years, a special National Investigation Agency (NIA) court on Monday acquitted all accused due to lack of evidence in the sensational Mecca Masjid attack. The case has seen several twists and turns. The police had probed the case at first following which it handed over to the CBI.
The NIA took over the probe in 2011. Ten persons were named as accused in the case. However five of them-- Devendra Gupta, Lokesh Sharma, Swami Aseemanand alias Naba Kumar Sarkar, Bharat Mohanlal Rateshwar alias Bharat Bhai and Rajendra Chowdhary faced trial in the case.
Mecca Masjid blast case: A timeline:
May 18, 2007: Blast at Mecca Masjid during Friday prayers kills 9 and injures 58 others
June 2010: RSS activist Sunil Joshi named as an accused by CBI. Joshi was shot dead by three unknown assailants on December 29, 2007.
November 19, 2010: Jatin Chatterjee aka Swami Aseemanand, a member of the Hindu group Abhinav Bharat, arrested by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI). The CBI also arrests other accused including Devender Guptha and Lokesh Sharma.
December 18, 2010: Aseemanand confesses to his involvement in the Mecca Masjid blast before the court.
April 2011: The National Investigation Agency (NIA) takes over the case from the CBI.
March 23, 2017: Aseemanad granted bail by Hyderabad court, paving way for his release from jail after seven years.
March 31., 2017: Aseemanad released from Chanchalguda jail.
February 15, 2018: Lt Col Prasad Purohit, an accused in the 2008 Malegaon blast case and a witness in Mecca Masjid bomb blast case, turns hostile.
April 16, 2018: All the accused acquitted