Samjhauta Express blasts: Will study order acquitting Former RSS member Aseemanand, says NIA

To seek legal advice on challenging it.


Vijaita Singh

Source: The Hindu

The National Investigation Agency (NIA) said on Wednesday it would study the court order acquitting former RSS member Aseemanand and five others in the 2007 Samjhauta Express blasts case that killed 68 people. Only after legal experts had studied the order would the agency decide if the acquittals could be challenged in a higher court or not, said a senior NIA official.

Earlier, NIA did not challenge the acquittal of Aseemanand and other accused in the Mecca Masjid and the Ajmer Dargah blast cases of 2007, which NIA had claimed were carried out by the same group. While nine persons were killed in the Mecca blast, three died in the Ajmer Dargah bomb blast. The verdicts in the cases came in 2017 and 2018.

In 2011, NIA filed charge sheet in the Samjhauta case, where it named Aseemanand as a prime accused. “Aseemanand propounded a bomb ka badla bomb theory (a bomb in return for a bomb),” the charge sheet said. Aseemanand had confessed to his role in the three blasts before a magistrate at Tis Hazari court but retracted from his statement in 2015.

On March 11, 2019, a Pakistani couple whose five children were burnt to death in Samjhauta bombing approached the special NIA court in Panchkula claiming they had “seen the bombers and could identify them.” Rana Shaukat Ali and his wife Rukshana, residents of Faisalabad in Pakistan were grievously injured while trying to rescue their children. They said they never received summons sent by the court to come and depose as witnesses. Their counsel Momin Malik told The Hindu that neither India nor Pakistan helped the 13 Pakistani witnesses to come and depose against the accused. Mr. Malik had moved a petition asking the court’s permission to present them as witnesses. NIA said it had served four notices to the Pakistan government in the past two years to present the 13 Pakistani witnesses, but got no response.

Anil Sami, who lost his limbs and was badly burnt in the train blast, said his father and brother were killed in the blast. “I was bedridden for a year, my face is disfigured… I was waiting for the Indian governments summon, but didn’t receive it. I know the bombers and could have identified them,” he said in a video message shared by Mr. Malik.

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