One of the accused says Congress leaders pressured him to implicate senior RSS functionaries

A special court for the National Investigation Agency (NIA) cases here has framed charges against seven persons accused of carrying out a blast in the Ajmer dargah in October 2007, even as one of the accused has blamed Congress leaders for pressuring him to implicate senior RSS functionaries in the case.

The court framed charges against Swami Aseemanand, a key figure in the Hindutva terror network, and his six alleged accomplices under the Indian Penal Code, the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act and the Explosives Act on Tuesday. They have been charged with carrying and planting bombs and exploding them, murdering people, spreading communal hatred and hatching conspiracy.

Besides Swami Aseemanand, the accused are Devendra Gupta, Lokesh Sharma, Chandrashekhar Leve, Harshad Solanki, Mukesh Vasani and Bharat Mohan Rateshwar. All of them are in judicial custody. The charges against three others — Bhavesh Patel, Ramesh and Mehul Kumar — are yet to be framed, while two are at large.

The court has fixed October 3 as the next date of hearing. Two First Information Reports were initially registered in Ajmer in 2007. The investigation was transferred to the NIA in 2011. The NIA filed a charge sheet against Swami Aseemanand in July 2011, describing him as the mastermind of the blast.

The explosion in the dargah of Sufi mystic Khwaja Moinddin Chishti on October 11, 2007, during Ramzan, left three persons dead and 17 injured. The dargah was packed to capacity with 5,000 devotees when the blast occurred.

Bhavesh Patel has created ripples in the political circles with his letter to the NIA court, accusing some UPA Ministers and Congress leaders of pressuring him to name RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat and his close aide Indresh Kumar as being complicit in the crime.

The letter, a copy of which is with The Hindu, was sent to the court through Sawai Man Singh Hospital, where Bhavesh was admitted after his health deteriorated while he was observing a hunger strike in jail. The court received the letter in a sealed cover, which was opened on Monday. Bhavesh was discharged from the hospital on Wednesday morning.

After going through the contents of the letter, the court has summoned Bhavesh for a hearing on Thursday, when his statement is likely be recorded. Counsel for Bhavesh B.S. Chauhan said he was shifted from the Jaipur Central Jail to Alwar without any court order, and the NIA’s Investigating Officer had questioned him several times during his judicial custody without the court’s permission.

Bhavesh has accused Union Home Minister Sushilkumar Shinde, his deputy R.P.N. Singh, Coal Minister Sriprakash Jaiswal, Congress general secretary Digvijay Singh, Investigating Officer Vishal Garg and NIA Inspector-General Sanjeev Kumar of exploiting him for implicating Mr. Bhagwat and other RSS functionaries in the case.

Bhavesh alleged in the letter that Acharya Pramod Krishnan of Moradabad had arranged several meetings for him with the Congress leaders, and Mr. Shinde asked him at one of the meetings in Delhi to name the RSS leaders. “When you [Bhavesh] are brought to the court, you have to name Mohan Bhagwat and Indresh Kumar and you have to say you engineered the blast [in the dargah] as per their directions,” the letter quoted Mr. Shinde as saying.

The letter claimed that Bhavesh met Mr. Digvijay Singh, Mr. R.P.N. Singh and Mr. Jaiswal at different points of time and all of them told him that his case would be solved if he followed their instructions to frame the RSS functionaries.

Bhavesh has demanded protection for him and his family because of his revelation. His letter also demanded a judicial inquiry into the matter and urgent action against the Congress politicians and NIA officers.

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