The Special NIA Court Panchkula Wednesday dismissed the application seeking permission for deposition of Pakistani witnesses in the Samjhauta blast case. The application was filed by a Pakistan resident Rahila Wakil on March 11 through advocate Momin Malik.
The Court on March 11 was expected to give its verdict in the main case, but the pronouncement was deferred after filing of Wakil’s sudden application under Section 311 CrPC. In the application, she claimed that no proper summons were sent to 13 Pakistani witnesses, adding they were ready to depose before the court. Rahila, according to the NIA, is not among the 13 witnesses in the case.
On March 18, the NIA apprised the Court that diplomatic channels had been used earlier on at least three occasions for serving the summons to 13 Pakistani witnesses in the case, adding there was no satisfactory response to the efforts from Pakistan government.
At least 68 people were killed in the 2007 Samjhauta Express IED blasts. A total of 43 Pakistan citizens were killed in the terrorist attack. The trial has been going on since 2010 at the Panchkula NIA court and around 224 witnesses out of the total 299 have deposed before the court.
Swami Aseemanand alias Naba Kumar Sarkar, who is the prime accused in the case and three other accused – Kamal Chauhan, Rajinder Chaudhary and Lokesh Sharma, who are currently in Central Jail Ambala, have faced the trial in the case. 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.