Aseemanand says confession was coerced

Aseemanand had earlier cofessed his role in Ajmer, Mecca masjid, Malegaon and Samjhauta Exp. blasts.

Updated: Mar 31, 2011, 13:26 PM IST

Zeenews Bureau

New Delhi: In a significant development, Swami Aseemanand, who is under scanner for his role in Ajmer, Mecca masjid, Malegaon and the Samjhauta Express blasts, has retracted his previous confessional statement, saying it was "coerced".

According to reports, the right-wing spiritual leader has made a submission before a court in Ajmer that he was mentally and physically pressurized by the investigating agencies to `confess` that he was the man behind those blasts.

Aseemanand is also believed to have informed the court that he was also threatened and being forced to become a government witness in the case.

He is said to have pleaded before the court to reject his previous application in which he had wished to become a witness in the Ajmer blast case, while deposing that he had no intentions whatsoever to turn approver in the case.

Besides, Aseemanand, three other accused in the Ajmer blast probe -Harshad Solanki, Bharat Rateshwar and Mukesh Vasani- were produced before the Ajmer court last Tuesday.

In his letter, Aseemanand has accused the Rajasthan ATS (handling the case so far) of ill-treatment as he was not allowed to hire a lawyer to defend him.

If reports are to be believed, Aseemanand has also sent a written appeal to the President about his alleged harassment by investigators.

The development has added a new twist to the ongoing probe into the Ajmer blast and complicated things for the ATS, which has so far failed to file a chargesheet against Assemanand and the other accused.

Instead, the ATS has also asked the court for giving time till April 8 to file chargesheet against the accused.

Meanwhile, the Rajasthan government had decided to hand over the investigation into the Ajmer dargah blast case to the National Investigation Agency (NIA).

However, the Rajasthan ATS declined to comment. A senior official said the investigation was genuine and that they did not want to comment about Aseemanand`s application to the court.

“Aseemanand told the court that the CBI and NIA put pressure on him to confess his role in the blasts, and allegedly threatened to "fix" him in false cases and put his "family in jail", some senior lawyers were quoted as saying.

Aseemanand had, in his previous confessional statement to the CBI, accepted his role and exposed the intricate network of people and groups responsible for the series of blasts in Malegaon, Ajmer, the Samjhauta Express and Mecca Masjid in Hyderabad.