The Special NIA Court in Panchkula on Wednesday acquitted all four accused, including Aseemanand, Lokesh Sharma, Kamal Chauhan and Rajinder Chaudhary, in the 2007 Samjhauta Express blast case. It came soon after the court dismissed an application filed by Pakistan national Rahila Wakil, who had requested the court to examine eyewitnesses from her country.
During the hearing, the National Investigation Agency (NIA) had earlier objected to the application moved by Wakil on March 11 to allow her to appear as a witness. The agency told the court that Wakil was not among 13 verified witnesses who were summoned by the court. In a last-minute application to the anti-terror court, Wakeel, the daughter of blast victim Muhammad Wakeel of Hafizabad district in Pakistan, sought examination of eyewitnesses from her country and contended that her co-nationals either did not receive proper summonses from the court or were denied visas by authorities to appear before it.
The case pertained to the criminal conspiracy which resulted in bomb blasts in the Attari or Samjhauta Express train near Panipat. The NIA, in investigations over a period of almost one year, had held that the entire conspiracy was hatched between 2005 and 2007 by Aseemanand, Joshi and their associates at different places including Gujarat and Madhya Pradesh.
It further had said that Aseemanand was upset with terrorist attacks on temples -- Akshardham (Gujarat), Raghunath Mandir (Jammu) and Sankat Mochan Mandir (Varanasi). He used to "give vent to" his feelings while discussing it with Joshi and his associates.
As a result, Aseemanand propounded a "bomb ka badla bomb" (Bomb for a bomb) theory, according to the NIA.
The Samjhauta train was chosen as most of its passengers are Pakistani citizens, it said. The Samjhauta Express, also called Attari Express, is a bi-weekly train that runs on Wednesdays and Sundays - between Delhi and Attari in India and Lahore in Pakistan.