Hyderabad: Fourteen years after the bombing of the Makkah Masjid, which claimed several lives and sent ripples of fear over the safety and security of public spaces, and Hyderabad itself, the long pursuit of justice continues.
It appears that a separate written petition filed in connection with the case was dismissed by the High Court in Telangana as a similar case was heard by the High Court.
It was in 2018 that all five accused were acquitted by a special national investigative body, which heard the case. This included Naba Kumar Sarkar, aka Swami Aseemanad.
According to police records, nine people were killed in the blast on May 18, 2007, and another 58 were injured. Five others succumbed to bullet injuries after police opened fire on a crowd that calmed down again after the explosion calmly broke.
The most recent development was in April this year.
For the sake of context, a separate written petition has been filed prescribing the court to declare section 21 (5) of the NIA Act, which restricts the filing of appeals to 90 days, as ultra vires. This was because there was a delay of more than 90 days. It is important to point out that a similar case to the condonation of delay was heard by the Supreme Court in Delhi. The court accepted favorable orders for the petitioner, one Farhan Shaik.
However, a special leave request against the Supreme Court in Delhi was filed by the NIA in the Supreme Court. The written petition in Hyderabad, which wanted to declare the NIA division as ultra vires, was rejected in April this year because of the SLP filed with the Supreme Court.
When the case was investigated, security agencies picked up dozens of Muslim youths and suspected them of having a hand in the terrorist attack. The youth were later acquitted, but their lives would change forever.
Several alleged torture. Investigative agencies also investigated the role of the Harkatul Jihad-e-Islami terrorist equipment, but later ruled it out. The needle of suspicion later pointed to Hindutva groups. Later, the special NIA court acquitted all five.
Four people, who are the relatives of the victims of the explosion, are appealing against the ruling of the special NIA court in the Telangana High Court in 2018. This development comes after it became clear that the NIA would not appeal the verdict that Naba Sarkar, alias, Swami Aseemanand, one of the five accused in the case, acquitted.
This case is being heard in March 2019 before a divisional bench of Chief Justice Thottathil B Radhakrishanan and Judge A Rajashekhar Reddy who noted that the NIA Act does not provide for the victim’s appeal, and later noted that Section 372 ii of the Criminal Procedure Act deals with the right of appeal of the victim.
The issue was related to the delay of more than 90 days in filing the appeal against the ruling of the special NIA court. In the course of the appeal hearing, the NIA’s lawyers said that the appeal was not sustainable due to this delay. Under NIA law, there is a bar on appeals in High Courts after 90 days.
As of now, there is no further information on the manner in which action will be taken.
Source: The Siasat Daily