Samjhauta: NIA wants to take evidence to Hyderabad



Panchkula (Haryana): The NIA on Thursday sought permission of special court here to allow Central Forensic Sciences Laboratory experts to take material evidence collected in Samjhauta train blast case to Hyderabad facility for examination and comparison with samples collected in other terror attacks.

"In pursuance to the observations and inspection report prepared by the CFSL team, we moved an application here in the court of District and Sessions Judge Subhash Mehla, requesting that the sealed exhibits of the Samjhauta blast case, may be allowed to be send to the sophisticated CFSL centre at Hyderabad for examination and comparison with the other blast materials," senior advocate R K Handa, NIA's Special Public Prosecutor in the Samjhauta case, said.

He said that the court, which is hearing the Samjhauta case, had issued notice for September 27 when the counsel of the accused can put forward their objections, if any.

Handa said the NIA informed the court today that CFSL experts were not in favour of unsealing the Samjhauta blast evidence here, citing that comparison and examination can properly be done only at their laboratory at Hyderabad.

A CFSL team, which had on September 20 arrived on a two-day inspection of the blast material evidence of Samjhauta case at Sector 5 police lines here, had yesterday decided not to unseal the evidence.

Handa, who along with Chetan Sharma, another counsel of the NIA, was present in the court today, said the CFSL team observed in their report that comparison of the 29 articles of the Samjhauta Express train blast materials with other blast materials including in Malegaon, Hyderabad and Ajmer blasts, requires a "thorough analytical examination and various tests and sophisticated instruments, which would be only possible if all the exhibits of the Samjhauta case were simultaneously examined with the others at Hyderabad".

Following a direction of Punjab and Haryana High Court, the court hearing charges against Swami Assemanand and four other accused in the 2007 Samjhauta case had allowed forensic experts to examine the sealed material on September 20-21.

The judge here had last week adjourned the case till October 10, when arguments on the charges will be taken up.

Earlier this month, the High Court had dismissed a petition filed by Aseemanand challenging orders of NIA special judge, Panchkula, permitting the agency to unseal the seized material in Samjhauta blast case in the presence of counsel for the accused.

The NIA had informed the high court that trial courts at Mumbai, Hyderabad and Jaipur had already granted it permission for making comparison of material found at the blast sites and the initial exercise at all three places has been done by CFSL experts.

After a four-year-long 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 killed 68 people, mostly Pakistanis.

In the charge sheet filed before the vacation court of additional district and sessions judge, 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 Lokesh Kumar Sharma are accused in several other blast cases across the country, including those at Hyderabad's Mecca Masjid and Malegaon.

PTI