Samjhauta train bombing: Aseemanand’s statement recorded

Saturday, January 15, 2011

PANCHKULA - Swami Aseemanand, a radical Hindu activist, was Saturday presented before the chief judicial magistrate (CJM) here to record his statement in connection with the 2007 Samjhauta Express blasts case.

He remained inside the court for nearly five hours.

Aseemanand, who was sent to judicial custody Thursday and lodged in Ambala jail, was taken to the court of CJM Rakesh Singh around 12.15 p.m. and came out around 5 p.m.

The National Investigation Agency (NIA) Thursday moved a petition to record Aseemanand’s statement before a magistrate. The proceedings were held in-camera and no mediaperson was allowed to enter the court.

However, Aseemanand’s lawyer said that his client was under pressure.

I had talked to Aseemanand on Thursday and he told me that he was under pressure. He has recorded the statements before the magistrate after succumbing to pressure. He will disclose the reason behind this pressure during the defence and cross-examination, said Manveer Singh Rathi, lawyer of Aseemanand, while talking to reporters.

Aseemanand, a member of the right-wing Hindu group Abhinav Bharat, was brought here from Hyderabad Dec 23 for his alleged involvement in the Samjhauta Express bombing. He is also an accused in the 2007 Mecca Masjid blast in Hyderabad in which 14 people were killed.

The NIA is questioning Aseemanand about his role in the Samjhauta Express blasts Feb 18, 2007, at Diwana village near the industrial town of Panipat, 160 km from here, in Haryana.

The bombing, which killed 68 people, took place in two bogies of the Samjhauta Express, a peace train between India and Pakistan. A majority of the 68 victims were Pakistani nationals.

The train was going from Delhi to Attari, the last station on the Indian side. The passengers were to board the Samjhauta Express train to Lahore city in Pakistan the next day (Feb 19).

Aseemanand was arrested by the Central Bureau of Investigation Nov 19 last year from Haridwar in Uttarakhand for his alleged role in the Mecca Masjid blast.

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