AMN / HYDERABAD
In a surprise decision, which set off speculations, Special NIA judge K Ravinder Reddy resigned on Monday just hours after pronouncing the judgment in the Mecca Masjid blast case.
Reddy, the special judge for NIA cases, tendered his resignation, citing “personal” reasons barely hours after pronouncing the judgement in which he held that the prosecution failed to prove “even a single allegation” against the five accused.
AIMIM Chief and Hyderabad MP Asaduddin Owaisi, meanwhile, tweeted, “Judge who gave acquittal to all accused in Mecca Masjid Blast RESIGNS very intriguing and I am surprised with the Lordship decision”, amid questions over the functioning of the National Investigation Agency(NIA).
A powerful blast, triggered by remote control, had ripped through the over four centuries-old mosque here during an assembly of devotees on May 18, 2007 when they had gathered for Friday prayers, killing nine people and wounding 58. “Prosecution (NIA) could not prove even a single allegation against any of the accused and all of them stand acquitted,” J P Sharma, the counsel for 66-year-old Assemanand, told reporters after the verdict was pronounced by judge Reddy.
The media was not allowed in the courtroom where the judgement was pronounced in the high-profile case, which was dubbed by the then UPA government as one of “Hindu terror”, a term that riled saffron organisations, including the BJP. “He has sent the resignation letter to MSJ(Metropolitan Sessions Judge)…he has cited personal grounds and it has nothing to do with today’s verdict in the Mecca Masjid blast case,” the senior judicial officer told PTI, speaking on condition of anonymity.
Reddy, had apparently taken the decision to resign sometimes back itself, the officer said. Soon after the verdict, the NIA had come in for attack by oppostion parties, including the Congress and AIMIM. Apart from Aseemanand, those acquitted are — Devendra Gupta, Lokesh Sharma, Bharat Mohanlal Rateshwar alias Bharat Bhai and Rajendra Chowdhary.