The key accused in the 2007 Ajmer Blast case Swami Aseemanand was acquitted by a special NIA court on Wednesday. The court also gave a clean chit to two other accused. The other three people involved in the case – Sunil Joshi (dead), Devendra Gupta, Bhavesh Patel – have been found guilty and they have been convicted. Patel and Gupta were fined Rs 1 lakh each, the quantum of punishment will be pronounced by the court on March 16.
The attack took place near a courtyard outside Ajmer’s dargah shrine of Sufi saint Moinuddin Chishti. The bomb was concealed in a tiffin carrier.
Here’s a brief timeline of events leading up to the Aseemanand’s acquittal:
October 2007: A blast takes place outside Ajmer’s Dargah shrine of Sufi saint Moinuddin Chishti that killed three and injured at least 17 people. A second bomb was discovered and defused.
April 2010: Devendra Gupta, one of the three people involved in the case, nabbed in Ajmer.
May 2010: A person called Chandrashekhar Barod was arrested from MP on May 1, following with another man Lokesh Sharma was nabbed from the state on May 14.
2011: NIA handed over case, but hearings were postponed one after the other as the witnesses made several applications delaying their appearance before the court, citing threat to their lives among other reasons.
July 6, 2015: The Congress slammed the ‘powers that be’ at the Centre and in the states as the reason why witnesses were turning hostile.
July 7, 2015: Another key witness in the 2007 Ajmer Dargah bomb blast case turns hostile on Monday. With this, 15 of the total 83 witnesses examined in the case so far have turned hostile since June last year. Anand Raj Kataria, a jeweller from Indore with apparent RSS leanings, who had earlier told the ATS that he was “officially introduced to Sadhvi Pragya Singh” and knew Aseemanand and Devendra Gupta (both accused in the case), went back on his statement.
July 11, 2015: Three more witnesses turn hostile, taking the total up to 19. The trio told a special NIA court they did not know Swami Aseemanand.
March 8, 2017: A special NIA court on Wednesday acquitted key accused Swami Aseemanand.
Aseemanand, who is a member of right-wing Hindu group Abhinav Bharat, has been in jail since December 2010. He was also named as one of the accused in Hyderabad Mecca Masjid blast case. He was arrested from Haridwar by the Central Bureau of Investigation on December 26, 2010, for his alleged role in the Mecca Masjid blast in which 14 persons were killed.