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HindustanTimes Wed,17 Sep 2014

Blow to NIA, Mecca mosque blast case accused out on bail

Rajesh Ahuja , Hindustan Times  New Delhi, April 22, 2014
First Published: 01:10 IST(22/4/2014) | Last Updated: 02:36 IST(22/4/2014)

The NIA probe into the Hindu terror cases, already hamstrung with dry leads and lack of credible evidence to sustain charges during trials, has now received a big judicial jolt as well.

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Andhra Pradesh high court has granted bail to two accused — Devendra Gupta and Lokesh Sharma — in the May 2007 Hyderabad Mecca Masjid blast case that claimed 14 lives, saying that the charges against them don’t appear to be ‘prima facie true.’

Despite being granted bail, both the accused will remain in jail as they have been charged in the Ajmer blasts case.

Moreover, in an apparent reference to RSS, the court said: “Substantial parts of the charge sheets in the case have been devoted to make allegations in innuendo against an organisation and persons associated with it.”

The NIA has sought permission of MHA to file an appeal in the Supreme Court against the order which was delivered on March 12. “The law ministry has sought few clarifications from the NIA after the MHA sought its views in the matter. We have replied to law ministry’s queries and hope to file appeal within stipulated period of 90 days,” said an NIA official requesting anonymity.

The NIA has alleged that Gupta and Sharma were part of a group of Hindu extremists that carried out blasts in mosques and other places frequented by Muslims.

The court has clarified that its opinion is for limited purpose of granting bail to the accused and it will have no bearing on the trial.

But its importance has not been missed by the defence lawyers in terror cases.

“This judgment is going to be cited by all defence lawyers in terror cases everywhere,” says MS Khan, a lawyer who is representing more than two dozen terror accused.


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