After getting custody of Devender Gupta, an accused in the 2007 Mecca Masjid blast case, the Central Bureau of Investigation on Monday filed a petition before a local court seeking custodial interrogation of another accused Lokesh Sharma. Gupta and Sharma were brought to Hyderabad by CBI from Ajmer on June 17, as part of further investigation into the blast that had left nine persons dead on May 18, 2007.
The investigating agency, which is probing the blast, had registered a case in June 2007 under various sections of IPC and Unlawful Activities Prevention Act. It has so far named five persons (all linked to the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh), including Gupta and Sharma, as accused in the case.
Gupta is presently under CBI's custody till June 30, while Sharma's test identification parade was conducted on June 26 at the Chanchalguda jail in Hyderabad, where two witnesses identified him. After completion of the identification parade, the CBI requested the additional chief metropolitan magistrate to permit Sharma's custody for a period of 15 days. The court has posted the matter for Tuesday. In its petition before the court, CBI said it has material on record to show that the acts of conspiracy and preparation to perpetrate the terrorist act in the case spans across several state jurisdiction and investigation was in progress in that regard.
"There is material to show the involvement of accused Lokesh Sharma in committing acts that were integral to the culmination of the conspiracy to commit the terrorist act," the investigating agency said. "Therefore, it is imperative to conduct custodial interrogation of Sharma in eliciting more information that can be used to collect more evidence about the conspiratorial and physical role played by Sharma as well as other accused in planning, preparing and perpetrating blast at Mecca Masjid," it added.