Key clues in Mecca Masjid blast case not handed over to CBI or NIA
All five men, including former RSS functionary Aseemanand, accused of plotting the bombing that left nine people dead were let off by a court on Monday.india Updated: Apr 19, 2018 07:20 IST
An off-white checked shirt and a torn pair of jeans collected from the Mecca Masjid blast site are two missing pieces of clothing that could have helped the investigators nail those who planted the explosive.
All five men, including former RSS functionary Aseemanand, accused of plotting the bombing that left nine people dead were let off by a court on Monday and no one knows who planted the bomb that ripped through Hyderabad’s historic mosque on May 18, 2007.
The shirt and the jeans were recovered from the blast scene but were never handed over to the Central Bureau of Investigation or the National Investigation Agency (NIA) that took over the probe from CBI, documents seen by Hindustan Times show.
The Andhra Police, which probed the case before the CBI took over, recovered both the pieces of evidence with a blue rexine bag that carried the logo of JansSport, a popular backpack maker.
It was in this bag that an improvised explosive device (IED), which didn’t go off, was kept along with the clothes.
The blast was caused by the other bomb.
Case documents show that pictures of the shirt, which bore the label Potatoes, and the jeans, with Made in Sri Lanka marking, were among the copies of photographs that the police handed over to the CBI when it took over the probe.
The pictures were taken by the photographers of the Andhra Police forensic science laboratory (APFSL).
An APFSL report of July 2007 says the exhibits were submitted by an inspector of the Hussaini Alam police station, where a complaint about the unexploded IED was registered.
Police forwarded three APFSL reports to CBI but the shirt and the jeans were not among the exhibits handed over to the central agency.
When NIA took over the case, it asked for exhibits from the CBI, whose investigators, first verbally and then in writing, told the anti-terror investigating agency that the shirt or other case material should be with APFSL or with the Andhra Police.
When CBI investigators showed the pictures of the two pieces of clothing to a witness, Shivam Dhakad, he said he had seen Ramchandra Kalsangra — one of the two accused who are currently on the run — wearing the shirt several occasions.
“I was also shown the photographs of the materials/clothes which were found at the blast spot of Mecca Masjid. I identified a shirt of Ramji which was found with the unexploded IED at Mecca Masjid Hyderabad,” says Dhakad’s statement which was seen by HT.
But when Dhakad took the stand, he turned hostile and denied the statement.
The NIA court on Monday cited lack of proof while letting off the five men. The case was weakened by several witnesses turning hostile.
Even if the clothes were found, they would have had little bearing on the trial as Kalsangra was still absconding, an official associated with the case said on condition of anonymity.
“But if he is arrested and goes to trial, the shirt or its photograph would be crucial evidence,” the official said.
The NIA spokesperson was not available for comments.
First Published: Apr 19, 2018 07:17 IST