Panchkula (Haryana): A National Investigation Agency (NIA) court here on Wednesday acquitted all four accused, including Hindu leader Swami Aseemanand, in the February 2007 Samjhauta Express train blast which killed 68 people, of which 43 were Pakistanis.
The NIA court had in January 2014 framed charges against Aseemanand and three others -- Kamal Chauhan, Rajinder Chaudhary and Lokesh Sharma. All of them were present in the court on Wednesday.
They had been charged with criminal conspiracy, murder, attempt to murder, sedition and more.
“The NIA Special Court has concluded that the investigating agency has failed to prove the conspiracy charge and ruled that accused deserve a benefit of doubt,” NIA Counsel RK Handa was quoted in the report.
According to Indian Express, the Panchkula court also dismissed an application seeking permission for deposition of Pakistani witnesses in the case, which was filed by a Pakistan resident Rahila Wakil on March 11 through advocate Momin Malik. Rahila, the daughter of a blast victim, Muhammad Wakil, had contended that her co-nationals either did not receive proper summons or were denied visas by authorities to appear before it, according to a PTI report.
The blast on February 18, 2007 in the train, which runs between Delhi and Lahore, at Haryana's Panipat left 43 Pakistanis, 10 Indians and 15 unidentified people dead. A dozen people, including 10 Pakistanis, were also injured.
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The blasts took place in two coaches of the train (Delhi-Attari) near a railway station in Diwana village, 160 km from here.
Last year, the special NIA court had also acquitted Aseemanand in the Mecca Masjid blast case, who was among the 10 accused of carrying out an IED explosion that claimed nine lives in Hyderabad in 2007. As per reports, that was the first major terror incident executed by the Hindu Right-wing in Hyderabad.
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A former Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh activist, Aseemanand, who was earlier known as Naba Kumar Sarkar, hails from Hooghly in West Bengal, and was first arrested by the Central Bureau of Investigation in the Mecca Masjid case in 2010.