Samjhauta blasts: Aseemanand gets 14-day judicial remand


Panchkula (Haryana) : Hindutva activist Swami Aseemanand, in custody for his alleged involvement in the 2007 Samjhauta Express blasts, was Thursday sent to 14-day judicial remand by a National Investigation Agency (NIA) court here.

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Aseemanand, who was presented before the court amid tight security, will be lodged in Ambala jail, around 35 km from here.

The proceedings were held in-camera and no media person was allowed to enter the courtroom while Aseemanand was presented before the judge.

The NIA special judge had sent Aseemanand to 10-day police remand Jan 3.

Besides, NIA has also filed a petition before the court to get the statements of Aseemanand recorded before a magistrate, under Code of Criminal Procedure Section 164. Court will take up this petition Jan 15.

“NIA did not appeal for further remand of Aseemanand. They told the judge that Aseemanand was ready to record his statements before the judicial magistrate. My client is fully cooperating with the investigation officers,” Aseemanand’s lawyer Manveer Singh Rathi told reporters.

Aseemanand, a member of the right-wing Hindu group Abhinav Bharat, was brought here from Hyderabad on warrant Dec 23. He is also an accused in the 2007 Mecca Masjid blast in Hyderabad in which 14 people were killed.

The NIA is questioning 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, in Haryana.

The blasts, which killed 68 people, took place in two bogies of the Samjhauta Express, a peace train between India and Pakistan. A majority of the 68 victims were Pakistani nationals.

The train was going from Delhi to Attari, the last station on the Indian side. The passengers were to board the Samjhauta Express train to Lahore city in Pakistan the next day (Feb 19).

Aseemanand was arrested by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) Nov 19 last year from Haridwar in Uttarakhand for his alleged role in the Mecca Masjid blast.