Friday, December 17, 2010

CBI files charge sheet in Mecca Masjid blast case

Hyderabad: The Central Bureau of Investigation on December 13 filed a charge sheet in Mecca Masjid blast case against Devender Gupta and Lokesh Sharma, alleged activists of Abhinav Bharat. The 80-page document wherein the duo has been charged with murder, attempt to murder, violation of arms and explosives act and various other offences, was filed by the agency almost three years and seven months after the blast.

Six people were killed when a bomb exploded in the courtyard of the jam packed mosque in the Andhra Pradesh capital soon after Friday prayers. Nine people were killed in the subsequent police firing when the people came out of the mosque and started protesting against the incident.

The charge sheet filed in the court of fifteenth Additional Chief Metropolitan Magistrate at Nampally, Hyderabad, has named Gupta and Sharma as the accused number three and four. Incidentally the duo is also accused in the blast in Ajmer Dargah of Sufi saint Khwaja Moinuddin Chishti. They were arrested by the Rajasthan Anti Terrorist Squad and during their investigation their involvement in Mecca Masjid blast came to light.

While the two prime accused Ramchandra Kalsangra alias Rami and Sandeep Dange are still absconding, CBI is also questioning another key suspect Swami Aseemanand who was also arrested by Rajasthan police in connection with the Ajmer blast. CBI says that he was among the key conspirators behind the series of blasts in the country. A supplementary charge sheet will be filed later naming Aseemanand.

Sunil Joshi, one more suspect and a close aide of Sadhvi Pragya, accused in Malegaon blast was shot dead by unknown gunmen in Madhya Pradesh in 2007 soon after the blasts in Ajmer and Hyderabad.

CBI sources said that the filing of charge sheet took a lot of time as initially the investigations went on the wrong track and clues had gone cold. Before the CBI took over the investigations, Hyderabad police had suspected the involvement of organizations like Lashkar-e-Taiba and Harakatul Jihad-e-Islami and had named Shahed Bilal as the prime suspect. More than hundred local youth were picked up and subjected to torture to extract a confession from them. All of them were released, and 22 of them were acquitted by the court.

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