Mecca Masjid: NIA judge resigns hours after acquitting 5 accused

Mecca Masjid Senior police personnel at the Mecca Masjid on Monday | PTI

The special National Investigation Agency (NIA) judge, Justice K. Ravinder Reddy, resigned within hours after delivering the verdict acquitting the five accused in the Mecca Masjid blasts case.

The accused, linked to right-wing organisations, were let-off by the court due to lack of evidence. In the bomb blast that took place inside the Mecca Masjid in the old city of Hyderabad in 2007, eight people were killed and more than 55 injured.

Justice Reddy sent his resignation letter to the chief justice of Andhra Pradesh High Court. It is learnt that Justice Reddy cited personal reasons in his letter to the chief justice and made a request to be relieved early. Nonetheless, the timing of his resignation raised several eyebrows.

In 2016, AP High Court had suspended Justice Reddy on disciplinary grounds for participating in an agitation over the allocation of judicial officers following the bifurcation of the erstwhile Andhra Pradesh. Justice Reddy, who is the fourth additional metropolitan sessions judge, was the president of Telangana Judges Association.

Justice Reddy, who is due to retire in June this year, is facing allegations of undue favour shown in granting bail to an accused. Recently, a complainant, Krishna Reddy, in a land dispute case, had written to the high court to conduct an enquiry “to know the corrupt practices of the fourth additional metropolitan sessions judge, Hyderabad.”

Hyderabad MP Asaduddin Owaisi tweeted, “Judge who gave acquittal to all accused in Mecca Masjid Blast RESIGNS very intriguing and I am surprised with the Lordship decision.”

Social media was agog as users discussed the reasons behind the judge’s sudden decision to resign.

Meanwhile, the verdict did not go down well with the local activists, victims and some politicians.

Majlis Bachao Tahreek (MBT), a regional political party, has strongly condemned the acquittal of all five accused in the Mecca Masjid bomb blast case, and described it as a major blow to fight against terrorism.

Usman Shareef, father of Irfan Sharif, who died in the blast, said he was very disappointed with verdict which came after 11 years. He said the families of the victims will get justice only if the higher courts punish the guilty.