NIA denied custody of ‘key player’

The interrogation of Kamal Chauhan,allegedly involved in the 2007 Samjhauta Express blast,has revealed that Lokesh Sharma,who is in judicial custody,played a “key” role in procurement

Written by Express News Service | Chandigarh/ New Delhi | Published: February 23, 2012 4:01:54 am

The interrogation of Kamal Chauhan,allegedly involved in the 2007 Samjhauta Express blast,has revealed that Lokesh Sharma,who is in judicial custody,played a “key” role in procurement and planting of bombs in the train that killed 68 people. Stating this,the National Investigation Agency (NIA) requested a Panchkula court,hearing the case for 15 days’ police remand of Sharma. The court turned down the request.

Special public prosecutors for NIA R K Handa and Rajan Malhotra told the court that Chauhan told his interrogators that it was Sharma who procured ammunition and explosive material to bomb the train. Also,Chauhan allegedly disclosed that Sharma gave a demonstration of how to plant and detonate bombs in Bagli,MP.

Submitting these reasons,the NIA said police custody of Sharma,who was arrested on June 16,2011,was necessary to recover incriminating material and to identify places where he gave demonstration of explosives. It said there was a need to interrogate Sharma to find out places from where he procured the explosives.

NIA also submitted that Sharma needs to be confronted with Chauhan to collect vital evidence and obtain further leads in the case. Sharma’s counsel,however,objected to the NIA application on the ground that he had been in judicial custody since June 18,2011. Later,the court declined NIA’s request.

NIA Director General S C Sinha said,“We sought the custody of Lokesh which has been denied. We will wait for a detailed court order and then proceed further. We have not taken his custody earlier.”

Aseemanand: Don’t know Chauhan

Samjhauta attack accused Swami Aseemanand on Wednesday denied any relation with Kamal Chauhan and said he did not know him. Aseemanand was produced by NIA before a local court in Panchkula. He reiterated before reporters that the NIA has hatched a conspiracy against him. Aseemanand will be produced again on March 7.

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