Hyderabad: Fourteen years after the bombing of the Makkah Masjid Mosque, which left several dead and raised fears for the safety and security of public spaces, and Hyderabad itself, the long quest for justice continues.
It turned out that a separate petition, filed in connection with the case, was rejected by the High Court in Telangana, as a similar case was being processed by the Supreme Court.
It was in 2018 that a special court of the National Investigation Agency, which was seized of the case, acquitted the five accused. This included Naba Kumar Sarkar, aka Swami Aseemanad.
Police records show that nine people were killed in the May 18, 2007 explosion, and 58 others were injured. Five other people died of gunshot wounds after police opened fire on a crowd who became reluctant after the blast broke the calm.
The most recent development took place in April of this year.
For reasons of context, a separate motion has been filed asking the court to declare section 21 (5) of the NIA Act ultra vires, which restricts the filing of appeals after 90 days. This was due to a delay of over 90 days for filing an appeal. It is relevant to point out that a case similar to that of tolerance of delay was heard by the High Court in Delhi. The court issued orders favorable to the applicant, a certain Farhan Shaik.
However, a special leave application against the Delhi High Court has been filed by the NIA in the Supreme Court. The motion in brief filed in Hyderabad, seeking to declare the section of the NIA as ultra vires was dismissed in April of this year due to the SLP filed in the Supreme Court.
While the case was under investigation, security agencies arrested dozens of young Muslims on suspicion that they were involved in the terrorist attack. The young people were then cleared, but their lives would change forever.
Several allegations of torture. Investigative agencies also probed the role of the Harkatul Jihad-e-Islami terrorist group, but then ruled it out. The needle of suspicion then went to the Hindutva groups. The NIA Special Court later acquitted all five.
Four people, who are family members of the blast victims, preferred to appeal the verdict of the NIA Special Court to the Telangana High Court in 2018. This development came after it was clear that the NIA would not appeal the judgment which acquitted Naba Sarkar, alias Swami Aseemanand, one of the five defendants in the case.
This case was heard in March 2019 before a division bench of Chief Justice Thottathil B Radhakrishanan and Judge A Rajashekhar Reddy who observed that the NIA law did not provide for the victim’s appeal, later observing the article 372 ii of the Code of Criminal Procedure deals with the victim’s right of appeal.
The problem was linked to the delay of more than 90 days in filing the appeal against the verdict of the NIA Special Court. During the appeal hearing, lawyers for the NIA said the appeal was inadmissible due to the delay. In accordance with NIA law, there is a ban on appeal to the High Courts after 90 days.
At this time, there is no further information on what action to take.