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Updated: May 8, 2011 00:53 IST

Aseemanand denied bail

Special Correspondent
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Swami Aseemanand being produced in a court in connection with the 2007 Ajmer Dargah blast case. File photo
PTI Swami Aseemanand being produced in a court in connection with the 2007 Ajmer Dargah blast case. File photo

Charges against him are serious, says NIA special judge

The National Investigation Agency Special Court here on Saturday denied bail to Swami Aseemanand alias Nabh Kumar Sarkar, one of the prime accused in the 2007 Ajmer dargah blast case, observing that the charges against him were “serious in nature” and that he was arraigned in at least three other cases of bomb explosions.

NIA Special Judge Chandra Narain Mathur extended Aseemanand's judicial custody till May 14, when the case against him and his alleged accomplice Bharat Riteshwar comes up for further hearing. However, the judge, in his eight-page order, did not express any opinion on the merits of the case.

Seeking bail, Aseemanand's counsel J. S. Rana cited Section 167 (2) of the Criminal Procedure Code, which says a person cannot be kept in custody for more than 90 days without a charge sheet being filed.

‘No hasty probe'

NIA counsel Arjun Ambala, opposing the bail application, said that since the matter involved national security, investigation into the crime as well as the conspiracy behind it could not be done hastily.

The judge said since Aseemanand was allegedly involved also in the conspiracy for carrying out blasts in the Malegaon mosque, Hyderabad's Mecca Masjid and on the Samjhauta Express train, he could not be given the advantage of bail at this stage. “This is a case of very serious nature.”

The court said the Ajmer Chief Judicial Magistrate, before whom the case had been pending before it was transferred to the designated NIA Judge here, could not indefinitely extend the judicial custody of an accused facing this kind of charge. Under the NIA Act, an order in a case assigned to the Special Court can be passed by that court alone.

The case was transferred in the last week of April following a notification issued for designating the CBI Special Court to hear the cases under the NIA Act as well.

The NIA, which took over the probe into the dargah blast from the Anti-Terrorism Squad of the Rajasthan Police on April 6, has already chargesheeted two other accused — Harshad Solanki and Mukesh Wasani, now lodged in the Jaipur Central Jail.

No order yet on time extension

The court is yet to pass an order on an NIA application seeking extension of time for filing the charge sheet against Aseemanand to a maximum of 180 days from the day of arrest on the ground that a case under the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act, 1967, has also been registered against him.

The deadline for charge sheet against Bharat Riteshwar was extended earlier this week.

Though the CBI arrested the 59-year-old Aseemanand from Haridwar, Uttarakhand, in November 2010, he was arrested in the Ajmer dargah blast case only in January this year after his confession about the conspiracy.

The October 11, 2007 explosion at the dargah of Khwaja Moinuddin Chishti left three persons dead and 17 injured.

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