A key document in the Hyderabad’s Mecca Masjid blast case – the disclosure filed by accused Aseemanand – has reportedly gone missing while it was in a lower court’s custody. According to reports, this was discovered when chief investigating officer and Central Bureau of Investigation SP T. Rajah Balaji began recording his evidence on Tuesday. He filed the first chargesheet in the case, before it was transferred to the National Investigative Agency.

Balaji found that that the key two-page document, in which Naba Kumar Sarkar – aka Aseemanand – had explained the alleged conspiracy to the CBI, was missing. “The document, marked as “Memo of Disclosure” No 88 in NIA chargesheet, reportedly contains names of senior RSS leaders,” the newspaper says. According to investigators, the document is crucial and could seal the self-styled godman’s fate in the case.

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The case has faced several setbacks in the past. The CBI examined 68 witnesses, but 54 of them – including Defence Research and Development Organisation scientist Vadlamani Venkat Rao – have turned hostile.

Also, K. Ravinder Reddy, the fourth additional metropolitan sessions judge cum special court for NIA cases, told off court officials after several documents pertaining to the case couldn’t be traced. The proceedings had to be pushed by more than 1.5 hours so that officials could locate some of the documents that were to be exhibited before the court.

On May 18, 2007, the explosion of a crude bomb, planted allegedly by the Hindutva organisation Abhinav Bharat, killed nine people and injured at least 58 when thousands of people had gathered for Friday namaz at the Mecca Masjid, considered to be one of the holiest Muslim shrines in India.

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Aseemanand, who is the primary accused in a number of bomb blasts including Mecca Masjid, Ajmer, Samjhauta Express and Malegaon that occurred between 2005 and 2007, was granted bail in April 2017. Top officials of the NIA had then allegedly scuttled plans of its Hyderabad unit to challenge the bail order.

On December 18, 2010, Aseemanand had confessed to his involvement in the Mecca Masjid blast before the court. His confession, provided in Hindi, is reproduced here. #KhabarLive

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