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Nobody bombed Mecca Masjid: Why this key is key to the probe

By Vicky Nanjappa
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    In the Mecca Masjid blast case, the NIA judge shot down the arguments put out by the probe agency stating that there was evidence to prove the charges against the accused. The court acquitted five persons in the case including Swami Aseemanand.

    The case has been laced with twists all through and the NIA incidentally was the third agency to probe into the case. The Andhra Pradesh police in its probe report blamed the Harkat-ul Jihadi Islami to the act and said that it was aimed at causing communal tension.

    Nobody bombed Mecca Masjid: Why this key is key to the probe

    The CBI then took over the probe and the narrative changed. The CBI blamed a few Hindus to be behind this incident. The NIA came along in 2011 and stuck to the same theory that the CBI had come up with. 221 witnesses and 411 exhibits later, the case resulted in acquittal.

    As a result of this verdict, both the Hindu and Muslim theories stand demolished. This brings us to the very pertinent question as to who bombed Mecca Masjid in Hyderabad. On May 18, 2007, a powerful bomb ripped through the Masjid. At the blast site, it was found that only one of the two bombs had exploded. The unexploded IED, a red shirt and a key were recovered from the site.

    The items recovered became a part of the crucial evidence. Till date, it is not known what the key was meant for and who the redshirt belonged to. At first, it was believed that the key was meant to trigger the device, but forensics went on to show that there was a mismatch between the key and the explosive device. None of the probe agencies was able to establish these details through their lengthy investigation.

    The mystery regarding the redshirt also continues. Interestingly when the case was handed over the NIA by the CBI, the red shirt was missing. The NIA never received the shirt, an officer associated with the probe said. The shirt would have been crucial to the probe as it would have helped in DNA sampling.

    Experts say that these are issues when the probe changes too many hands. The narrative in the case has changed too often and this automatically weakens any case. The other issue noticed in this case was the heavy reliance on the confessional statement given by Swami Aseemanand.

    In his confessional statement, he had said that his decision to come clean was after meeting with one youth called Abdul Kaleem. He said that Kaleem who was in a Hyderabad jail was tortured in connection with the same case and hence he decided to spill the beans. However, Aseemanand retracted his statement citing duress to be the reason.

    In addition to the retraction of the confessional statement, there were many witnesses who turned hostile. At key moments witnesses turned hostile and this proved to be fatal to the case.

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