NIA counsel Rajan Malhotra has said that that the agency plans to challenge the verdict
Aseemanand, a RSS Pracharak who has been linked to three terror attacks, was among four men who were acquitted today by an anti-terror court in Haryana in the 2007 blast of the Samjhauta Express that left nearly 70 people dead. The National Investigation Agency or NIA, which was probing the case, failed to prove the involvement of the men in the attack allegedly planned as a revenge for terror strikes on Indian temples.
“All the four accused, Naba Kumar Sarkar alias Aseemanand, Lokesh Sharma, Kamal Chauhan and Rajinder Chaudhary have been acquitted by the court,” NDTV quoted NIA counsel Rajan Malhotra as saying, adding that the agency planned to challenge the verdict.
The blast on the train headed from Delhi to Pakistan’s Lahore had taken place near Panipat in Haryana on February 18, 2007. The blast had ripped apart two coaches of Samjhauta Express, killing 70 people, mostly Pakistani nationals.
According to the media reports, before pronouncing the verdict, NIA special judge Jagdeep Singh dismissed the request of a Pakistani woman for examining some eyewitnesses from her country.
The Haryana Police had registered the first case in the blast but the probe was handed over to the NIA in July 2010.
After its probe, the NIA filed a chargesheet in June 2011, indicting eight people for their alleged roles in the terror attack.
Also read: All accused including Aseemanand in Mecca Masjid Blast case acquitted, Verdict Criticised
Of the eight, Aseemanand, Lokesh Sharma, Kamal Chauhan and Rajinder Chaudhary appeared before the court and faced trial.
Sunil Joshi, the alleged mastermind of the attack, was shot dead near his home in Madhya Pradesh’s Dewas district in December 2007.
The three other accused – Ramchandra Kalsangra, Sandeep Dange and Amit – are still absconding and they are still clueless.
Aseemanand, linked to the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) – the ideological mentor of the ruling BJP, was out on bail. The three others were in judicial custody.
Aseemanand was also accused in Mecca Masjid and Ajmer Shrine Blasts however acquitted previous years by the NIA court.