Samjhauta case: NIA files reply on defence plea

The NIA had sought permission to allow CFSL experts to take material evidence of the Samjhauta Express case to Hyderabad facility for comparison with other samples collected in Malegaon.

Panchkula: A special court on Wednesday
adjourned the Samjhauta train blast case till November 24
dismissing the defence plea that National Investigation Agency should put on record all facts pertaining to the case.

Arguments on framing of charges will now be taken up on the
next date of hearing, NIA Special Prosecutor R K Handa said
after NIA Special Judge Subhash Mehla adjourned the case.

Handa said outside the court that right wing Hindu group
member Aseemanand`s counsel had last month submitted a plea
before the court that NIA be directed to produce documents
that claim to have revelations of 26/11 terror accused David
Coleman Headley`s wife and that of Students Islamic Movement
of India "showing Headley and SIMI`s hand in the cross-border
train`s bombings."

The defence had pleaded that NIA be directed to produce the
documents of the US agency FBI with regards to Headley`s
investigation and another report where SIMI is claimed to have
confessed responsibility in the (train) bombings, he said.

"Today, NIA filed its reply and opposed the defence plea
tooth and nail, submitting that their application is not
maintainable and it’s a premature exercise," Handa said.

Since the proceedings in the case are held in-camera, Handa
said later that averments made in accused Aseemanand`s
application "are based on inadmissible evidence, either
hearsay or on reference of press clippings, which are not
admissible per se in court of law".

"The accused requires facts to be proved at appropriate
stage when he will lead the defence evidence in the Court. At
the stage of framing of charges, the accused has neither the
right to produce either any document in court himself nor can
he seek directions for production of documents from the
prosecution agency, which are not part of the investigations
and further also cannot seek directions from the court to the
NIA to further investigate the matter as desired by the
accused," Handa said.

He said after hearing the arguments, the Judge dismissed
the accused`s plea and adjourned the case.

After the court proceedings on the previous date of
hearing on October 10, Aseemanand`s counsel had said, "All
these documents were necessary to be brought on record."
Handa said that NIA had earlier submitted that the defence
was only adopting delaying tactics as their averments are
totally vague and hearsay.

"We had also submitted that this (Special) Court would not
have jurisdiction to summon some of the records from the US,"
he said.

On September 28, the special court had allowed NIA,
probing Samjhauta train blast case, to send the material
evidence collected for examination to Hyderabad-based Central
Forensic Sciences Laboratory.

The NIA had sought permission to allow CFSL experts to
take material evidence of the Samjhauta Express case to
Hyderabad facility for comparison with other samples collected
in Malegaon, Hyderabad and Ajmer bomb blasts cases, in which
the role of a right-wing activist is suspected.

After a four-year probe, the NIA had on June 20, charged
Aseemanand, Sunil Joshi (now dead), Lokesh Sharma, Sandeep
Dange and Ramchandra Kalasangra alias Ramji with triggering
explosions in the cross-border Samjhauta Express that left 68
people dead, mostly Pakistanis.

In the charge sheet filed in June before the vacation
court of additional district and sessions judge here, Kanchan
Mahi, the NIA had accused the five of hatching a criminal
conspiracy which resulted in bomb blasts in the train.

Aseemanand and Sharma are already in judicial custody in
Ambala jail.

Apart from Ajmer Dargah blast, which claimed three lives
and left 15 others injured, Aseemanand and Sharma are accused
in several other blast cases across the country, including
those at Hyderabad`s Mecca Masjid and Malegaon.


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