The NIA court earlier this week acquitted all five accused including Swami Aseemanand in the Mecca Masjid blast case in Hyderabad. 14 people were killed in the blasts, while more than 50 were injured. The trial began in 2015, when the NIA, which reports to the central government, appointed N Harinath a posecutor.
Many questions were raised on how the case was handled allegedly to weaken the charges against the accused. It’s in this context that the prosecutor, who was hand-picked by the NIA, has become significance. Harinath, who had no prior experience in dealing with high-profile criminal cases, was member of the ABVPHarinath has been associated with the ABVP, an all India student organisation affiliated to the RSS, since his academic days in Hyderabad. The prime accused in Mecca Masjid, Samjhauta and Ajmer dargah blasts, Aseemanand, too belonged to the RSS.
Confirming his past association with the ABVP, Harinath said, “My ex-ABVP association has nothing to do with my role as Special PP. I did my job my placing before the court all the evidence on record.”
The NIA, which reports to the central government, had earlier acquitted Aseemanand in the Ajmer blast case. The national agency had decided not to oppose the conditional bail granted to Aseemanand, chargesheeted in the 2007 Samjhauta blasts case.
Aseemanand was arrested by the CBI from Haridwar in December 2010 for his alleged role in the Mecca Masjid blast.
Critics say that the cases where Hindu extremists are suspected to be behind the blasts are deliberately being weakened since the BJP government came to power in May 2014.
Rohini Salian, Special Public Prosecutor in the Malegaon blasts case, had sensationally alleged in 2015 that she was told by NIA to “go soft” on the case.
Four people were killed and 79 injured when bomb blasts shook Maharashtra’s Malegaon, a predominantly Muslim town 200 miles east of Mumbai, during the month of Ramzan in September 2008. Investigations linked the blasts to Hindu terror suspects and 12 people were arrested, including Sadhvi Pragya Singh Thakur and Colonel Prasad Shrikant Purohit.
Salian claimed that she was tasked not to appear in court for the State of Maharashtra just before one of the regular hearings in the case in the Sessions Court.
“A day before June 12, when the case came up again for regular hearing (in the trial court), the same officer who had come to my office came up to me and said there are instructions from higher-ups, someone else will appear instead of you. I said I was expecting this and, good, you have told me this, so please settle my bills,” Salian was quoted as saying.