Hearing in Samjhauta train blast case adjourned

PANCHKULA: The hearing in the Samjhauta Express link train blast case was adjourned twice on Thursday following a strike by lawyers in Panchkula.

Hearing in Samjhauta train blast case adjourned

Aseemanand arrives at a special court in Panchkula. Tribune file


Panchkula (Haryana), March 14

The hearing in the Samjhauta Express link train blast case was adjourned twice on Thursday following a strike by lawyers in Panchkula.

The hearing, which was to be held on Thursday morning, was adjourned by the judge till 2 pm. Since the strike by lawyers continued, the hearing was adjourned again till Monday.

A National Investigation Agency (NIA) court here on March 11 reserved verdict in the February 2007 Samjhauta Express blast in which 68 people, mostly Pakistani nationals, were killed.

The special NIA court was to give a judgment on March 14, following a fresh petition from a Pakistani national.

The woman, Rahila, daughter of one of the Pakistanis killed in the blast, sent an email through her lawyer saying that eyewitnesses from Pakistan had not been called for the trial.

The petitioner said the witnesses from Pakistan who were on the train when the blasts took place were not sent summons nor asked to appear before the court.

The NIA court will decide on whether to accept the new petition.

The NIA court had in January 2014 framed charges against Hindu leader Swami Aseemanand and three others—Kamal Chauhan, Rajinder Chaudhary and Lokesh Sharma—in the case.

They were charged with criminal conspiracy, murder, attempt to murder, sedition under various sections of the Indian Penal Code (IPC), the Explosive Substances Act, the Railways Act, the Damage to Public Property Act and the Prevention of Unlawful Activities Act.

Aseemanand was granted bail by the court in August 2014. Arguments in the case had concluded on March 6 and the NIA court had said the verdict would be pronounced on March 11.

The blast on February 18, 2007 in the train, which runs between Delhi and Lahore, at Haryana’s Panipat left 68 people—43 Pakistanis, 10 Indians and 15 unidentified—dead. As many as 64 were passengers and the other four were railway officials.

A dozen people, including 10 Pakistanis, were also injured.

Blasts took place in two coaches of the Samjhauta Express link train (Delhi-Attari) near a railway station in Diwana village, 160 km from here.

Aseemanand, a member of the right-wing Hindu group Abhinav Bharat, was arrested by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) on November 19, 2010, from Haridwar for his alleged role in the 2007 Mecca Masjid blast in Hyderabad that killed 14 people.

The NIA, which questioned Aseemanand about his role in the Samjhauta blast case, said it had evidence against him and others. Over 250 witnesses were examined during the trial, out of which some turned hostile.

The chargesheet in the case was filed in 2011, four years after the incident. — IANS


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