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Updated: January 13, 2011 15:16 IST

Samjhauta blast: Aseemanand remanded in judicial custody

Panchkula (Haryana)
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In this February 19, 2007 file photo, paramillitary personnel keep vigil to the charred bogies of the Samjhauta Express near Panipat station in Haryana. Photo: R.V. Moorthy
The Hindu In this February 19, 2007 file photo, paramillitary personnel keep vigil to the charred bogies of the Samjhauta Express near Panipat station in Haryana. Photo: R.V. Moorthy

Swami Aseemanand, the main accused in the 2007 Samjhauta Express blast, was on Thursday remanded to 14 days judicial custody by a court here. The Samjhauta blast in Haryana's Panipat district had left 68 people dead in February 2007.

The counsel for the right-wing Hindu group Abhinav Bharat member said the National Investigation Agency (NIA) told the court that it do not require further custody of the accused as it has completed its investigation.

However, the NIA moved an application before the court of Chief Judicial Magistrate (CJM) for recording Aseemanand’s statement.

The NIA had last month brought Aseemanand, who is also an accused in the 2007 Mecca Masjid blast, from Hyderabad and produced him in a court here on December 23 which first remanded him in one-day custody of NIA as the judge of the designated court was on leave that day.

After expiry of his one-day custody on December 24, he was produced in the court of NIA Special Judge Ritu Garg who had further remanded him in NIA’s custody till today.

The hearing in the case took place in-camera in the court as the NIA had earlier moved an application in this regard keeping in view the “sensitivity” of the case.

The NIA, which had recently sought production warrant of Aseemanand from a court here, had sought further remand of the Swami to extensively question him over his role in the train blast in Haryana’s Panipat district that left 68 people dead.

Aseemanand was arrested by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) on November 19 for his alleged involvement in the Mecca Masjid blast that left nine people dead.

He was earlier living under a fake identity in Haridwar and had also procured fake identity cards.

A post-graduate in Botany, Aseemanand, whose real name is Jatin Chatterjee, hails from Hooghly district of West Bengal. He settled in the tribal-dominated Dangs area of south Gujarat in late 1990s.

His name had also come up during the probe in the Malegaon blast of 2008 when Maharashtra Anti-Terrorism Squad recovered the number of the Swami’s driver from Sadhvi Pragya Singh Thakur, another Abhinav Bharat member and an accused in the Malegaon blast case.

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