Samjhauta blasts: Hindu leader sent to police custody till Jan 3

Friday, December 24, 2010

PANCHKULA - Hindu religious leader Swami Aseemanand was Friday sent to police custody till Jan 3 by the National Investigation Agency’s (NIA) special court here in connection with the 2007 Samjhauta train blasts in Haryana that killed 68 people.

Aseemanand was brought to NIA special judge Ritu Garg’s court under tight security, from where he was sent to police remand.

On the request of NIA, the proceedings were in-camera and no mediaperson was allowed to enter the court.

Aseemanand, a member of the right-wing Hindu group Abhinav Bharat, was brought to Panchkula from Hyderabad Thursday. He is also an accused in the 2007 Mecca Masjid blast in Hyderabad.

NIA is expected to interrogate Aseemanand about his alleged links with the people arrested in the Samjhauta blast case.

However, Aseemanand’s lawyers said he was innocent and would extend full cooperation to NIA during the questioning.

Aseemanand was arrested by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) Nov 19 from the religious town of Haridwar in Uttarakhand.

NIA Tuesday sought permission from a court here to present Aseemanand before it and question his role in the Samjhauta Express blasts Feb 18, 2007 at Diwana village near the industrial town of Panipat, 160 km from Panchkula.

The blasts took place in two bogies of the Samjhauta Express, a peace train between India and Pakistan. Majority of the 68 victims were Pakistani nationals.

The train was going from Delhi to Attari, the last station on the Indian side. The passengers were to board the Samjhauta Express train to Lahore in Pakistan the next day (Feb 19).

The CBI, railway police, Haryana police and other investigating agencies had failed to make any headway in the train blast case in nearly four years.

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