In a controversial move, the Hyderabad High Court on Friday accepted a request by Special NIA Court judge and Fourth additional metropolitan sessions judge K Ravinder Reddy, who sought voluntary retirement from his post.
According to media reports, the High Court asked him to hand over his duties to the 22nd Additional chief judge, city civil court.
Reports add that the order is valid from May 31, and the Telangana government also issued a GO notifying his retirement.
This development comes just days after the National Investigation Agency (NIA) reportedly decided not to appeal the acquittal of the five accused in the 2008 Mecca Masjid blast case, including main accused Swami Aseemanand.
Ravinder Reddy had sent a letter to the Chief Justice of the Hyderabad High Court shortly after delivering the judgement. While the motive for his sudden resignation was unclear, Reddy reportedly cited personal reasons.
The resignation after acquitting the five accused, citing lack of substantial evidence, had given rise to rumours that the judge was under significant pressure to free the accused, who belong to Abhinav Bharat, an extremist organisation allegedly involved in the Malegaon and Ajmer blasts.
Nine people were killed and 58 were injured in the blasts, which took place as thousands had gathered for their Friday prayers.
According to media reports, the NIA reportedly found it tough to appeal the case as it could not prove any of its allegations with concrete evidence. Following this, it received legal advice that suggested against challenging the acquittal.
On May 18, 2007, members belonging to the Hindu militant outfit Abhinav Bharat had allegedly placed two bombs in Mecca Masjid, considered to be one of the holiest Muslim sites in Hyderabad.
They allegedly placed the bombs in the 17th century monument during Friday prayers, when thousands of people had gathered.
According to media reports, the investigation agency listed 226 prosecution witnesses, of which 64 turned hostile, including Lieutenant Colonel Shrikanth Purohit, who was an accused in the 2008 Malegaon blast case.