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‘Had enough proof against Aseemanand’

Swami Aseemanand.   | Photo Credit: PTI

The National Investigation Agency (NIA) was undecided on appealing against a trial court order, which acquitted self-proclaimed monk and former Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) activist Swami Aseemanand and six others in the 2007 Ajmer Dargah blast case on Wednesday.

Three others were held guilty by the court.

Public Prosecutor Ashwini Kumar Sharma told The Hindu that there was enough evidence against Aseemanand, including his confessional statement to a Delhi court.

Confessional statement

“Aseemanand’s statement where he had confessed to the terror act was on record, I don’t know why the court did not consider it and acquitted him. I am yet to receive a copy of the judgment and there could be another reasons as well for the acquittal,” Mr. Sharma said.

In his confessional statement recorded before a magistrate in a Delhi court, Aseemanand had said that he and other activists were involved in bombings at various places of worship across the country, such as Ajmer Sharif and Hyderabad’s Mecca Masjid, and Samjhauta Express for taking revenge against the “terror acts of Muslims”. Aseemanand is on bail in Samjhauta case and the trial in Mecca Masjid blast has almost concluded.

An NIA official said, “We are yet to get a copy of the order. We will decide once the order has been analysed by our legal team.”

Mr. Sharma added that the prosecution will seek life sentence for the two convicts — Bhavesh Patel and Devendra Gupta when the court pronounces the quantum of punishment on March 16. The third convict Sunil Joshi is dead.

“We will ask for life sentence for the convicts as they were involved in terror activity and their involvement under sections 15 and 16 of the UAPA has been proven now,” he said.

The explosion in the 13th century dargah of Sufi mystic Khwaja Moinuddin Chishti on October 11, 2007, during Ramzan, had left three persons dead and 17 injured. The dargah was packed with about 5,000 devotees when the blast occurred at the time of ‘iftaar’ (breaking of fast).

As many as 26 out of 83 witnesses had turned hostile during the trial of the case, which picked up pace after May 2014 when the NDA government came to power.

“It was not a case that deserved acquittal. The NIA will decide whether they want to appeal against the acquittals after I send my comments to them…But its not unusual to not appeal against an acquittal, has happened on several occasions,” said Mr. Sharma.

There were a total of 13 accused in the case, three of whom are absconding, while former RSS pracharak Sunil Joshi was murdered in December 2007.

The other accused who were acquitted were Chandrashekhar Leve, Bharat Mohan Rateshwar, Mukesh Vasani, Mehul Kumar, Lokesh Sharma and Harshad Solanki. Three accused who are are Suresh Nair, Sandeep Dange and Ramchandra. 


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Printable version | Dec 1, 2021 12:20:42 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/had-enough-proof-against-aseemanand/article17436792.ece

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