Key accused get bail in Mecca Masjid case

In a major setback to the National Investigation Agency, two prime accused in the 2007 Mecca Masjid blast were granted bail by a Hyderabad court on Monday. Former RSS members Devender Gupta and Lokesh Sharma are also accused in the 2007 Samjhauta train blast and Ajmer dargah blast that killed more than 50 people. The two were arrested first by the Rajasthan Police and later by the CBI in 2010 in connection with bomb blasts involving Hindu terror groups.

Speaking to The Indian Express over phone, the counsel for the two accused, Venugopal said, "The court has granted bail to the two on submission of their passports, Rs 50,000 each and two sureties. We will soon move for bail application in Samjhauta and Ajmer as well. The NIA, which took over the case from the CBI in 2011, has failed to get the trial in the case commenced." The court took notice of the recent move by the NIA where the agency after much deliberation made Bharat Bhai, a witness in the case, as an accused. Venugopal said, "We also raised the issue regarding the delay by the agency to file a chargesheet against Bharat Bhai."

When contacted, DG, NIA, S C Sinha said, "We will examine the court order and if there's a need, we will appeal against the bail order. The two Devender Gupta and Lokesh Sharma are still in custody as they are accused in Samjhauta and Ajmer blast cases."

The investigation of the case is being handled by the NIA's Hyderabad branch.

Sleuths found similarity between Mecca Masjid and Ajmer dargah case where use of iron pipes of tubular shapes with black paint were used as the main body for explosives; mobile phones and SIM cards were used in the form of timer; 11 SIM cards purchased by terror group from West Bengal and Jharkhand were used in the blasts. After taking over from the CBI, the NIA filed a supplementary chargesheet in May 2011 where Gupta and Sharma were described as facilitator in the blast. Swami Aseemanand, also an accused in Samjhauta blast, was said to be the leader of the group, along with slain RSS pracharak Sunil Joshi.

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