2007 Samjhauta blast case: NIA court puts off pronouncement of verdict, fixes matter for Mar 14https://indianexpress.com/article/india/2007-samjhauta-blast-case-court-reserves-order-for-march-14-5620900/

2007 Samjhauta blast case: NIA court puts off pronouncement of verdict, fixes matter for Mar 14

On February 18 in 2007, an IED blast was carried out in the Samjhauta train--which runs between Delhi and Lahore--at Panipat in Haryana in which 68 people were killed.

2007 Samjhauta blast case: Court reserves order for March 14
Sisters of the Missionaries of Charity watch the remains of the two coaches of the Attari-bound Samjhauta Express at Diwana in Haryana. (Express photo by Praveen Jain/ File)

A Special NIA court in Panchkula on Monday reserved the order for March 14 in the 2007 Samjhauta train blast, in which a total of 68 people were killed.

The court put off the pronouncement of the verdict after a lawyer filed an application saying that Pakistani witnesses want to depose before the court. There are 13 Pakistani witnesses in the case. The application is on behalf of one Rahila Wakil, who has claimed to be the daughter of one of the victim. A notice has been issued to the NIA and accused for the response on the application.

On February 18 in 2007, an IED blast was carried out in the Samjhauta train–which runs between Delhi and Lahore–at Panipat in Haryana. The deceased included 43 Pakistan citizens, 10 Indian citizens, and 15 unidentified people. 12 people including 10 Pakistanis and two Indians were also injured in the terrorist attack. READ in Malayalam

According to the NIA, the terror blast was carried out in pursuance to a criminal conspiracy aimed at threatening the “unity, integrity, security and sovereignty” of India. The case has witnessed a protracted in-camera trial involving four accused – and a number of witnesses turning hostile.

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Explained | Samjhauta Express blast – Who are the accused? What did NIA chargesheet say?

Who are the accused in the case?

There were eight accused in the case but only four faced the trial. Swami Aseemanand alias Naba Kumar Sarkar, the prime accused in the case, had been granted bail by the Punjab and Haryana High Court in 2015. Three accused – Kamal Chauhan, Rajinder Chaudhary and Lokesh Sharma are in judicial custody in Central Jail Ambala. Three accused – Amit Chouhan (Ramesh Venkat Malhakar), Ramchandra Kalsangra and Sandeep Dange have been declared as proclaimed offenders in the case. Another accused Sunil Joshi – NIA calls him the mastermind – was killed in December 2007 in Dewas, Madhya Pradesh.

Significantly, the prime accused Aseemanand has been already acquitted in Mecca Masjid Blast case and the Ajmer Dargah blast case. In the Samjhauta case, the NIA has said that Aseemanand was the main ideological support behind the conspiracy and also provided some financial support to those accused who carried out the task besides knowingly providing shelter to them.