Religious leader in custody for Samjhauta train blasts


Staff member
Panchkula, Haryana: Hindu religious leader Swami Aseemanand was sent to police custody till January 3 by the National Investigation Agency's (NIA) special court here in connection with the 2007 Samjhauta train blasts in Haryana that killed 68 people.

Aseemanand was brought to NIA special judge Ritu Garg's court under tight security, and then sent to police remand.

On the request of the NIA, the proceedings were in-camera and no media person was allowed to enter the court.

Aseemanand, a member of the right-wing Hindu group Abhinav Bharat, was brought to Panchkula from Hyderabad on Thursday. He is also an accused in the 2007 Mecca Masjid blast in Hyderabad.

The NIA is expected to interrogate Aseemanand about his alleged links with the people arrested in the Samjhauta blast case.

However, Aseemanand's lawyers said he was innocent and would extend full cooperation to NIA during the questioning. Aseemanand was arrested by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) on November 19 from the religious town of Haridwar in Uttarakhand.

The NIA on Tuesday sought permission from a court here to present Aseemanand before it and question his role in the Samjhauta Express blasts on February 18, 2007 at Diwana village near the industrial town of Panipat, 160 kilometres from Panchkula.

The blasts took place on the Samjhauta Express, a peace train between India and Pakistan.