Eleven years after a powerful pipe bomb ripped through Mecca Masjid during Friday prayers killing nine persons, judgment day has arrived. The special NIA courtcum-fourth additional metropolitan sessions court will pronounce a verdict on April 16.

The judge said the verdict will be out after the conclusion of final arguments between defence counsel and public prosecutor. Police are making elaborate security arrangements on the court premises to prevent any untoward incidents.

The blast on May 18, 2007, was caused by a cellphone-triggered pipe bomb placed near wuzukhana, a spot where ablutions are performed. It occurred near the open-air section of the masjid. At the time of the blast, more than 10,000 people were inside the mosque. Two more live IEDs were found and defused by cops.

Initially, the case was registered by Hussainialam police, but investigation was taken up

by Special Investigation Cell (SIC) constituted to detect the case. However, SIC was disbanded as arrests of innocent Muslim youth led to an uproar. The case was then handed over to the CBI. National Investigaton Agency, which took up the case, arrested several persons, including Swami Aseemanand and Lakshman Das Maharaj.

During the trial, the investigation agency listed 226 prosecution witnesses, of which 64 turned hostile. Lieutenant Colonel Shrikanth Purohit, an accused in the 2008 Malegaon blast case, too turned hostile. 

During the final hearing, documents relating to disclosures of Aseemanand went missing in the court. This revelation came after chief investigating officer and SP, Special Crimes Branch, TRajah Balaji began recording his evidence. Balaji had filed the first chargesheet before the case was transferred to NIA.

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