In a setback for the National Investigation Agency (NIA), another witness Neera Singh, a close aide of Sadhvi Pragya Singh, turned hostile in the Samjhauta blasts case during the hearing in the NIA special court here on Friday.
Only two of the 10 witnesses deposed before the court on Friday. The blasts had taken place on February 18, 2007, near Panipat, killing 68 people, mostly Pakistanis.
"Neera Singh did not support her earlier statements," said special public prosecutor RK Handa.
Neera had given a statement under section 164 of Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC) in which she had acknowledged her association with Sadhvi Pragya Singh and other accused in the case. "Neera told the court that she had made the statement under pressure from NIA," said Handa.
She had also given a statement earlier that she had gone to Indore, Valsad and Surat with Sadhvi Pragya Singh in 2008 for Koti Chandi yagya. But on Friday she told the court that she had only went to Indore for the yagya where she met Sadhvi Pragya Singh. She further stated that she had no contact with Sadhvi Pragya Singh since then.
She also did a U-turn on her earlier statement that Sadhvi Pragya Singh was behind the murder of Sunil Joshi, another accused in the case.
The second witness, Dr RP Singh, stated that he had gone to Bhopal in 2008 for a function where a hate speech was delivered, but he refused to recognise accused Aseemanand, saying that the person delivering the speech was taller than Aseemanand.
The case was listed for next hearing on July 31.
Three witnesses -- Shivam Dhakad, Kavita and Ganpati -- had turned hostile in the last hearing held in the court on July 3.
On May 30 too, three witnesses -- Bharat Mohan Lal alias Bharat Bhai, Vasudev Parmal and Sheetal Gehlot --recorded their statements in the NIA court in Panchkula and turned hostile. They refuted NIA story that they had ever been members of Rashtriya Swayamsewak Sangh (RSS). Earlier they had revealed some facts about the accused and claimed knowledge about the blasts.