Kamal Chauhan, an accused in the 2007 Samjhauta Express bomb blast case, today failed to get any immediate relief from Punjab and Haryana high court in connection with his petition challenging a National Investigation Agency (NIA) special court's May 9 order to extend his judicial custody from 90 to 180 days.
The case was adjourned for June 27 after case hearing was resumed before a vacation bench comprising justice Naresh Kumar Sanghi and justice Gurmeet Singh Sandhawalia, before which the NIA submitted its reply to a HC notice issued earlier.
Refuting Chauhan's allegations as baseless, NIA apprised the court that all case diaries were produced before special NIA judge at Panchkula on May 9, which were seen and signed by the judge and only after getting convinced that the trial court extended Chauhan's judicial custody.
Chauhan was arrested at the NIA camp office at Noida (UP) on February 12 and he is at present lodged in Ambala central jail. He had allegedly planted one of the four bombs in Samjhauta Express train bound for Lahore. Due to two explosions, 68 passengers had died on February 18, 2007, near Diwana railway station in Panipat district.
Two other co-accused lodged in the Ambala jail are Lokesh Sharma and Swami Aseemanand.
Appearing for the NIA, lawyer Sukhdeep Singh Sandhu asserted that the case diaries submitted by the NIA before the trial court elaborately depicted the progress made during the course of investigation and hence the trial court's order was well reasoned.
He submitted that the NIA had achieved great success during the course of investigation and had collected adequate evidence. "Since the incident is more than five years old, most of the connecting evidences are required to be collected from different parts of the country. All out efforts are being made to collect the related evidences," said Sandhu.
Chauhan had submitted that his custody of 90 days was to expire on May 11. But on May 9, the NIA in order to defeat his right to be released on bail moved an application for extension of period of investigation from 90 days to 180. The same was allowed by the NIA special court without issuing any notice to the petitioner, it was submitted.
Chauhan had also mentioned that no progress report was produced before the NIA court by the investigation agency and thus the court had acted in a mechanical manner in passing the order which was liable to be set aside.