A special court in Haryana on Wednesday acquitted Swami Aseemanand and three others for the deadly bombing of the Samjhauta Express train in 2007. 68 people – 42 of them Pakistani passengers – were killed in the blast, when they were on their way to Lahore from New Delhi.
The Samjhauta blast case was the only pending case against the 67-year-old Hindutva hate preacher who had once confessed of carrying out bombings at various places of worship across the country, such as Ajmer Sharif and Hyderabad’s Mecca Masjid, and in Malegaon for taking revenge against the “terror acts of Muslims.”
In his confession, Aseemanand had said that he had collaborated with several other Hindutva terror accused, including senior RSS leader Indresh Kumar, slain Sangh pracharak Sunil Joshi, and Sadhvi Pragya Singh Thakur, to carry out terrorist attacks against Muslims. However, he later told an NIA court probing the blast case that the investigation agency “tortured” and “put pressure on him to give wrong statements.”
Apart from Aseemanand, the others acquitted are Lokesh Sharma, Kamal Chauhan and Rajinder Chaudhary. Aseemanand was accused of providing logistic support to the persons who carried out the blasts.
NIA, which had taken over the probe in the case in 2010, had said that the accused had conspired and propounded a theory of “bomb ka badla bomb” in its chargesheet. But the special court ruled that the investigative agency had failed to prove its charges.
The alleged mastermind of the attack, Sunil Joshi, was shot dead near his home in Madhya Pradesh’s Dewas district in December 2007, while three other accused – Ramchandra Kalsangra, Sandeep Dange and Amit could never be apprehended and were declared proclaimed offenders.