NIA court reserves verdict in Samjhauta Express blast case 

Maarch 11, 2019

Panchkula (Haryana):  A special National Investigating Agency (NIA) court, here on Monday, reserved verdict in the February 2007 Samjhauta Express link train blast in which 68 people, mostly Pakistani nationals, were killed.

The special NIA court reserved its judgment till March 14, following a fresh petition from a Pakistani national on Monday.

The petitioner said eyewitnesses from Pakistan, who were present on the train when blasts took place, were not sent summons nor asked to appear before the court. They were also not issued visas to come to India for court proceedings, he said.

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.

All accused were present in the NIA court on Monday.

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.

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 kilometre 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, Uttarakhand, for 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 had turned hostile.

The charge sheet in the case was filed in 2011, four years after the incident.

IANS

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