In another setback to the National Investigation Agency (NIA) in the 2007 Samjhauta Express train bomb blasts case, the prosecution witness No. 110, a Gurgaon resident, turned hostile on Friday before the Special Court in Panchkula.
The NIA and a judicial magistrate had earlier recorded statements from Neera, allegedly stating that she had visited Indore, Valsad and Surat along with Sadhvi Pragya Singh, and that she also knew Aseemanand and Lokesh Sharma — all three are accused in the case.
On Friday, she informed the NIA Special Court that those statements were made under pressure from the agency. Neera is the tenth witness to have denied statements that were submitted in court by the agency.
The blasts had occurred near Dewana railway station in Panipat district of Haryana, killing 68 people, mostly from Pakistan, and injuring 12 on the intervening night of February 18 and 19, 2007.
Neera informed the court that in 2008 she had travelled only with Pragya Singh to Indore to attend a yagya and stayed there for eight days. Although Sharma and Aseemanand were present in court, she said she did not know them.
Out of 10 witnesses summoned by the court, only two turned up on Friday. The other prosecution witness, Dr R P Singh from New Delhi, partially stood by his earlier statement made to the NIA.
He had told the agency that he had attended a function in Bhopal on April 11, 2008, when a person, who people told
him was Aseemanand, had delivered a fiery speech and exhorted all to retaliate against Islamic attacks.
However, when the special court judge asked him whether the person who had delivered the hate speech was present in court, Dr Singh responded in the negative. The case has now been adjourned for hearing on July 30.