Aseemanand denies role in Samjhauta blasts
Panchkula: Hindu activist Swami Assemanand, arrested by the National Investigating Agency (NIA) for his involvement in the Samjhauta Express blasts case, Monday reiterated that he was innocent and the NIA has no proof against him.
"I am innocent. NIA has no proof against me and this arrest is illegal. This is a conspiracy to implicate me. They are torturing and creating pressure on me to give wrong statements," Assemanand told reporters outside a local court here Monday.
Assemanand and another accused, Lokesh Sharma, were presented to the court of NIA Special Judge Subhash Mehla Monday in the Samjhauta Express blast case -- in which 68 people were killed near Panipat town in Haryana in February 2007.
Earlier June 20, the NIA had filed its charge sheet against Aseemanand and four others -- Lokesh Sharma, Sandeep Dange and Ramchandra Kalasangra and Sunil Joshi, who is now dead.
The charge sheet said that Aseemanand was the mastermind of the blasts and instigated others to carry out the terrorist act. Dange and Kalasangra have been declared proclaimed offenders in the case as are currently on the run and untraced so far.
"NIA has submitted some documents in support of the charge sheet in the court today. NIA lawyer told the court that they will submit more documents to strengthen their case during the next hearing," Manveer Singh Rathi, lawyer of Aseemanand, said.
"NIA said they are collecting documentary proofs against Sadhvi Pragya and other people and those proofs will be produced before the court during the next hearing," he added.
The next hearing is slated for Aug 17.
Aseemanand, a member of the 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, 160 km from here.
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 on the border with Pakistan in Punjab. The passengers were to board the train to Lahore in Pakistan the next day -- Feb 19. The victims of this bombing were mainly Pakistanis.
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