M A I N   N E W S

Samjhauta Blasts 
NIA files chargesheet against Aseemanand
Sanjay Bumbroo/TNS

Panchkula, June 20
The National Investigation Agency (NIA) on Monday filed its chargesheet against Swami Aseemanand and four others in a court here, holding them responsible for triggering explosions in the Samjhauta Express that killed 68 persons in Panipat in February 2007.

The agency is also investigating the role of Sadhvi Pragya Thakur in the case and said she might be arrested. In the chargesheet, filed before the special NIA court in Panchkula, the agency accused Aseemanand, Lokesh Sharma, Sunil Joshi (now dead), Sandeep Dange and Ramchandra Kalasangra alias Ramji of hatching a criminal conspiracy, which resulted in blasts in the cross-border train near Dewana railway station in Panipat district. Majority of those killed in the blast were Pakistanis.

The investigations by the NIA revealed that Aseemanand was quite upset with jihadi/terrorist attacks on Akshardham temple in Gujarat, Raghunath temple in Jammu and Sankat Mochan temple in Varanasi. “He used to give vent to his feelings during discussions with Sunil Joshi and his associates. Over a period of time, they developed a deep vengeance against not only the ‘jihadi’ terrorists but also against an entire minority community as such,” the NIA chargesheet said.

“As a result, Aseemanand propounded a ‘bomb ka badla bomb’ (bomb for bomb) theory and Samjhauta train was particularly chosen as most of the passengers travelling in it are Pakistani nationals. Aseemanand not only provided financial and logistical support to the terror group which executed the dastardly act but also played a vital role in instigating and motivating his associates to undertake this terrorist act,” the chargesheet said.

Aseemanand and Lokesh Sharma are currently in a jail in Ambala while three other accused have been declared as proclaimed offenders.

The NIA further said that under the leadership of Joshi, Sandeep, Ramji, Sharma and others were instrumental in procuring raw materials for making bombs and later getting these planted on the train.

“There’s strong possibility of some more persons involved in the conspiracy. Further investigation in the case will be continued,” the chargesheet said.

Defence council Manbir Singh Rathi said he had gone through the operating part of the chargesheet. The NIA had produced circumstantial evidence only, he added.

The NIA after taking over the case conducted probe in Delhi, Haryana, Gujarat, Maharashtra, UP, Bihar, Jharkhand and Madhya Pradesh to unravel the conspiracy hatched by the criminals to perpetrate the act. “Numerous witnesses and suspects were examined and material evidence collected. The investigation conducted by NIA over a period of almost one year established that, the entire conspiracy was hatched between 2005 and 2007 by the accused...and others at different places in Gujarat, MP and other places,” the agency said. Earlier, Swami Aseemanand’s bail plea was rejected by a sessions court here on May 12. He had had already denied having made any statement to the NIA about his involvement in the Samjhauta blast case. Apart from Ajmer Dargah blast, which claimed three lives and left 15 others injured, Aseemanand and Lokesh Kumar Sharma are an alleged accused in several other blast cases across the country, including those at Hyderabad’s Mecca Masjid and Malegaon.

India may share chargesheet with Pak 

New Delhi: India is expected to cite the filing of the chargesheet in Samjhauta Express blast case and ask Pakistan to reciprocate by taking action against the 26/11 accused during the upcoming Foreign Secretary-level talks. Sources said the chargesheet is likely to be shared with Pakistan during this week’s talks where India will press for strong action against those involved in the Mumbai attacks. — PTI

NIA says ‘bomb ka badla bomb’ was Aseemanand’s mantra

The terror trail 

Feb 18, 2007: Blasts take place on Samjhauta Express, a twice-weekly train connecting Lahore and Delhi, killing 68 persons

Bombs set off in two coaches filled with passengers

Feb 19, 2007: The GRP registeres a case at Karnal Railway Police

Investigators find evidence of suitcases with IEDs and inflammable material.

But no breakthrough could be made regarding the identities of the perpetrators of the blast

July 29, 2010: The NIA takes over the probe.

Nov 2010: Aseemanand arrested, names other accused

June 2011: NIA files chargesheet against him, 4 others





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