The Special NIA Court, on Wednesday, sentenced Bhavesh Patel and Devendra Gupta to life imprisonment in the 2007 Ajmer Dargah blast case. The Magistrate also imposed a fine of Rs. 10,000 on Patel and Rs. 5,000 on Gupta.
The Court had, earlier on March 10, convicted three and acquitted seven others, including former RSS member Swami Aseemanand, giving them benefit of doubt. It analyzed the testimony of 149 witnesses and the contents of 451 documents submitted to it, while about a dozen witnesses turned hostile in cross-examination during the trial. Those acquitted, beside Aseemanand, include Chandrashekhar Leve, Mukesh Vasani, Bharat Mohan Rateshwar, Lokesh Sharma, Mehul Kumar and Harshad Solanki.
Aseemanand gets bail in Mecca Masjid blast case
After being acquitted in the Ajmer blast case, Aseemanand and Bharat Mohan Lal Rateshwar were granted bail in the 2007 Mecca Masjid blast case on Thursday by Nampally Court. They were granted bail on the condition of giving two sureties of Rs 50,000 each. They were further ordered to be present for the Trial when required, and to not leave Hyderabad without the Court’s permission. The Court also directed the NIA to bring Devendra Gupta, Lokesh Sharma and Rajender Chowdary to Hyderabad on prison transit warrant, for their alleged role in Mecca Masjid blast.
The blast had occurred on May 18, 2007, at about 1.25 pm inside the Mecca Masjid, Hyderabad during the Friday prayers, which had resulted in death of nine persons and injuries to 58 persons.
2007 Ajmer Blast: The timeline
Three persons were killed, and at least 15 others injured when a bomb exploded around 6.15 p.m. on October 11, 2007, inside the premises of the shrine of Sufi saint Khawaja Moinuddin Chisti. While the investigation initially blamed Islamic terror groups for the blast, a confession by Aseemanand shifted the focus of the probe towards Hindutva groups.
The Rajasthan ATS filed a chargesheet against three accused on October 20, 2010, before the Chief Judicial Magistrate’s Court in Ajmer. The ATS had averred that the blast was orchestrated with the intention to stir communal disharmony in the country and insult the religious feelings of a particular community during the month of Ramzan. The NIA had then taken over the investigation in April, 2011. The case was fast-tracked after the change of Government at the Centre in 2014.