Finally, the verdict in the sensational Mecca Masjid attack carried out 11 years ago allegedly by a group of right-wing terrorists will be pronounced by a special court here on Monday.
The NIA Special Court at Nampally would deliver the verdict on the complicity of five of the 10 accused charge-sheeted in the case. One of the accused, Sunil Joshi of Madhya Pradesh, a former Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) pracharak, was murdered while the case was being investigated.
Two other accused, Sandeep V. Dange, former RSS pracharak and Ramchandra Kalsangra, electrician-cum-RSS activist, also from Madhya Pradesh are still eluding the investigators.
Investigation against another two from the same State, Tejram Parmar and Amith Chowhan, is still continuing. Investigators framed charges against the remaining accused, RSS pracharak Devendra Guptha of Rajasthan, property dealer-cum-RSS activist Lokesh Sharma of MP, godman Nabakumar Sarkar alias Swamy Aseemanand of Gujarat, private employee Bharat Mohanlal Rateshwar of Gujarat and farmer Rajender Chowdary of MP.
The bomb blast was the first major incident allegedly executed by the Hindu right-wing in the city.
There were many twists and turns in the investigation of the attack on the Masjid, which is adjacent to the historic Charminar in the Old City. The attack occurred on May 18, 2007.
Initially, many believed it to be the act of a fundamentalist group supported by Pakistan's Inter Services Intelligence (ISI).
Many officers followed this line of investigation and reports were circulated that a Hyderabadi, Mohammed Shahid Bilal, commander of Harkat-ul-Jihad-al-Islami (HuJI), was the mastermind, planning the attack from Bangladesh or Pakistan.
As the local police of the then united Andhra Pradesh failed to make a breakthrough in the case, it was transferred to the Central Bureau of Investigation.
Picking up clues from the unexploded Improvised Explosive Device (IED) found inside the Masjid, the CBI found that a group of right-wing terrorists triggered the blast.
They arrested Devender Guptha and Lokesh Sharma in 2010. In 2011, the Centre handed over the case to the NIA.
Stitching up clues from similar terror attacks elsewhere in the country, NIA sleuths arrested some more persons.
In the charge-sheet, the NIA investigators said that the arrested had conspired between 2004 and 2007 to target places where people from the Muslim community congregate.
The accused believed that terror attacks reported in the country from 1998 were planned by Muslim groups and wanted to retaliate, the investigators said in the charge-sheet.