Samjhauta Express blast case: Aseemanand, three others acquittedhttps://indianexpress.com/article/india/samjhauta-express-blast-case-special-nia-court-acquits-all-four-accused/

Samjhauta Express blast case: Aseemanand, three others acquitted

Samjhauta Express blast case: 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.

Samjhauta Express blast case: Aseemanand, three others acquitted
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 on Wednesday acquitted all four accused in the 2007 Samjhauta Blast case in which a total of 68 people were killed. The court in Panchkula also dismissed the application seeking permission for deposition of Pakistani witnesses in the case. The application was filed by a Pakistan resident Rahila Wakil on March 11 through advocate Momin Malik.

“The NIA Special Court has concluded that the investigating agency has failed to prove the conspiracy charge and ruled that accused deserve a benefit of doubt,” NIA Counsel RK Handa said.

Among the 68 dead in the terrorist attack, 43 were Pakistan citizens. The NIA in its chargesheet had named eight persons as accused.

READ ALSO: Samjhauta Express blast case explained: Who were the accused? What did NIA chargesheet say?

Among them are Naba Kumar Sarkar alias Swami Aseemanand, Lokesh Sharma, Kamal Chauhan and Rajinder Chaudhary, who appeared before the court. While Sunil Joshi, the alleged mastermind of the attack, was killed in December 2007.

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Aseemanand was among the accused in the case. (Express Photo: Jaipal Singh/File)

Three other accused — Ramchandra Kalsangra, Sandeep Dange and Amit — are still at large and have been declared proclaimed offenders.

The trial had been going on since 2010 at the Panchkula NIA court and around 224 witnesses out of the total 299 had deposed before the court.

The Samjhauta Express, also called Attari Express, is a bi-weekly train that runs on Wednesdays and Sundays – between Delhi and Attari in India and Lahore in Pakistan. The blast in Samjhauta Express took place near Panipat in Haryana on February 18, 2007, when the train was on its way to Attari in Amritsar, the last railway station on the Indian side.

(With PTI inputs)