Muthi-ur-Rahman Siddiqui, the 26-year-old Deccan Herald reporter who was accused by the police of being part of a terrorist group, walked out of the Parappana Agrahara Central Jail here a free man on Monday evening. His first gesture was to hug Irshad Desai from the Association for Protection of Civil Rights which fought the legal battle on his behalf.

By Siddiqui’s side was Yusuf Nalband (28), a technician with a private firm and an accused in the same case along with 13 other men. The two, who spent over six months in jail until the court said there was no evidence against them, were greeted with a blitzkrieg of flashbulbs as they emerged from the prison.

“I hope nobody goes through what I did. Only I know the pain I went through,” Siddiqui told mediapersons as he was surrounded by a jubilant group comprising his colleagues from the daily as well as journalists from other newspapers who had shared the beat with him.

Siddiqui and the others were arrested by the Crime Branch of the Bangalore police in August 2012 on the charge of plotting to assassinate prominent Hindutva leaders as well as some journalists.

The National Investigation Agency, which later took over the case, found no evidence against either Siddiqui or Nalband in its charge sheet.

“I was projected as the mastermind,” Siddiqui said sardonically referring to reports in sections of the media which had quoted police sources.

He also thanked those friends and colleagues who stood by him in his time of crisis as well as the judiciary.

Nalband, on the other hand, was overcome by emotion and said that he thought of his mother every day in the last six months.

Siddiqui refused to take further questions and said that he would address a press conference on Tuesday.