2 declared offenders in Samjhauta blasts case
Panchkula: A special National Investigating Agency (NIA) court Friday declared Sandeep Dange and Ramchandra Kalasangra proclaimed offenders (POs) in the 2007 Samjhauta Express blast case. Radical Hindu activist Swami Aseemanand was also produced in court for the first time.
With Aseemanand, another accused Lokesh Sharma was also produced in the court of NIA special judge Subhash Mehla.
NIA had on June 20 filed a chargesheet against Aseemanand and four others - while Sharma has already been arrested, Dange and Kalasangra are absconding and the fourth, Sunil Joshi, is dead.
The next date of hearing is July 18.
"After the filing of chargesheet, Aseemanand was produced in the court for the first time. Besides, NIA special court has declared Sandeep Dange and Ramchandra Kalasangra as POs," Manveer Singh Rathi, Aseemanand`s lawyer, said.
According to the chargesheet, Aseemanand was the mastermind behind the terror attack and had instigated others to carry out the terrorist act.
Aseemanand had earlier told the court that he had no role in the Samjhauta Express bombing in which the victims were mainly Pakistanis. He accused the NIA of torturing him mentally and physically to extract the statement from him.
Aseemanand, a member of the rightwing Hindu group Abhinav Bharat, was arrested by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) Nov 19 last year from Haridwar in Uttarakhand for his alleged role in the 2007 Mecca Masjid blast in Hyderabad in which 14 people were killed.
The NIA had questioned Aseemanand about his role in the Samjhauta Express blasts Feb 18, 2007, at Diwana village near the industrial town of Panipat.
The bombing took place in two coaches of the Samjhauta Express, a peace train between India and Pakistan.
The train was going from Delhi to Attari, the last station on the Indian side. The passengers were to board the train to Lahore in Pakistan the next day.
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