Tribune News Service
Mumbai, April 25
Nine Muslims accused of setting off bombs in the textile town of Malegaon in 2006, which killed 37 persons, were acquitted by a special court of Sessions Judge VV Patil today.
Of the nine, while Mohammad Ali Alam Sheikh and Asif Khan Bashir Khan were found guilty in the July 2011 Mumbai train blasts, Shabbir Ahmed Masiullah died in a road accident recently.
The nine were chargesheeted for the September 8, 2006, blasts near a Muslim cemetery and a mosque during afternoon prayers on Shab-e-Baraat, when special prayers are held for the dead.
The bombs, planted on bicycles, triggered loud explosions that were followed by a stampede which left 37 dead and over 100 injured. The needle of suspicion fell on Lashkar-e-Toiba, Students Islamic Movement of India (SIMI) and Jaish-e-Mohammed.
The NIA, which had taken over the investigation from the ATS and CBI, submitted that it had found no evidence to link the nine accused with the blasts, paving the way for their discharge on Monday.
On the other hand, NIA had booked a group of men allegedly belonging to Hindu right-wing groups like the Abhinav Bharat following the confession by Swami Aseemanand, accused of carrying out the 2007 Mecca Masjid blast.
(with agency inputs)
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