On Wednesday a local court in Hyderabad acquitted 17 people arrested in connection with the Mecca mosque blasts case in Hyderabad on May 18, 2007.
With their acquittal, the conspiracy case framed by the Hyderabad police involving sedition, waging war against the state and conspiring to provoke hostilities between Muslims and Hindus virtually falls flat on its face.
Additional metropolitan sessions judge A Radhakrishna, while acquitting the accused, observed that the police had “not submitted requisite material evidence and other clinching evidence to prove the accusations" leveled against the accused. The court reprimanded the prosecution for relying on "police witnesses" and "narco-test revelations", defence counsel Yahya Ali Khan told HT.
Reacting to the acquittals, Hyderabad Police Commissioner B Prasada Rao said, "We’ll examine the judgment... After seeking legal opinion, we might go in appeal."
The Hyderabad police’s Special Investigation Team (SIT) had arrested 21 local Muslim youths after the mosque blast and the blasts at the Lumbini auditorium and Gokul Chat shop in Hyderabad on August 25, 2007. The police had charged the accused with criminal conspiracy as members of the Harkat-ul-Jehad-e-Islami.
Last month, another court had acquitted Abdul Majid and Shoeb Jagirdar, arrested in the same case.
Incidentally, software engineer Sadiq Sheikh, allegedly a top functionary of the Islamist terror group Indian Mujahideen (IM), has revealed to the Hyderabad and Mumbai police that a three-member module of IM under its top operative Riyaz Bhatkal had orchestrated the August 25, 2007 twin blasts in Hyderabad "to avenge the Mecca mosque blast carried out by Hindu right wingers." Sheikh is currently in custody of Delhi police.