Justice undone


Eleven years after the ghastly Mecca Masjid blast in Hyderabad that left nine persons dead and 58 others injured, and with the acquittal of all the five accused facing trial including Devendra Gupta, Lokesh Sharma, Swami Aseemanand, Bharat Mohan Lal Rateshwar alias Bharat Bhai and Rajendra Choudhary, the incident cannot be treated a closed chapter. After all someone did plant those deadly bombs and the absence of answers to that raises questions about the efficiency of the National Investigating Agency (NIA) which took over the investigations from CBI in 2011. The NIA could not present any credible evidence. Media reports that a vital article of evidence (a red shirt purportedly worn by some accused) went missing while the case was transferred from CBI and the NIA going soft on some of the similar cases like Ajmer blast and the Samjhauta Express blasts in the recent past cast doubts over the role of the investigators and the likelihood of political pressures under a BJP led government at the Centre. Lack of concrete evidence in the Mecca Masjid blast may only be one plausible explanation. The other is the lethargy of the NIA to probe the loose ends and the gaps in the story. Why is it that two of the accused are still absconding and remain untraced? Even more shockingly, the vital link in the case – the involvement of Sunil Joshi who is accused to have been trained in blasting bombs – remains mired in mystery. He was one of the main accused both in this case and Samjhauta blast case. The mystery of these blasts was deepened when he was murdered in 2007 at a time when the investigators were about to nab him. Why does that murder in which the charge-sheet clearly mentioned RSS hand remain un-investigated? In his book ‘Godse’s Children’, Subhash Gatade gives instances to show how RSS has had a history of projecting and sticking to their main leaders by eliminating foot-soldiers when caught. The murder of Sunil Joshi is one of the instances he quotes in his book. After the initial investigation, the fate of the case remains in limbo. This is a sad reflection of the manner in which the legal justice mechanisms fail in this country in cases of such serious nature. This inefficiency and loopholes in the system have been prevalent since long but have become far more jarring in the last few years under BJP rule which wishes to create a culture of impunity for the people from the right wing. This is reflected in the softening of stand on the other cases of bomb blasts and terror activities in which Hindu right wing groups and individuals were named as the main accused. The manner in which the NIA has shown complete inefficiency in presenting its case against the accused and not bothered to gather enough evidence shows the highly pliable tendencies of the premier investigating agency and its willingness to be manipulated by the political powers of the day. This does not augur well for institutional democracy in the country. If this is a sheer case of complacency and inefficiency, the government must ensure that the lacunae be fixed before the people’s confidence in such agencies is completely eroded. If there is design behind it, the issue is of much deeper concern. The suspicion that the latter may be a possibility are strengthened by the surprising resignation of the Mecca blast case judge within hours of the verdict quoting ‘personal grounds’. One report in the national media maintained that the judge was facing corruption charges. If true, these loose ends may as well be connected to the main plot of the blast. This case needs to be re-investigated keeping all such factors in mind. If the accused in the case have been acquitted for lack of evidence and for inability of the NIA to do its job, the blood of those who lost their lives in the blast cannot be forgotten. Justice is still awaited.