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Aseemanand's connection to Samjhauta blast deepens

delhi Updated: Jan 02, 2011 00:50 IST
Rajesh Ahuja
Rajesh Ahuja
Hindustan Times
New Delhi

Two days before the firebombing of the Samjhauta Express in 2007, key suspects Swami Aseemanand and Sunil Joshi met in Gujarat, witness Bharat Bhai has told the Anti-Terrorism Squad (ATS) of Rajasthan. However, he doesn't know what transpired at the meeting.

Aseemanand is currently in NIA custody. Investigators are convinced about his involvement in the train blast near Panipat, Haryana on February 18, 2007 that claimed 68 lives.

Joshi was murdered in Dewas, MP in December 2007. According to sources, he knew too much about the blast and Aseemanand's role in it. Joshi was also a suspect in the Ajmer shrine blast of October 11, 2007. Bhai is a witness in this case too.

According to the sleuths, Bhai's statement has shed light on the relationship between Aseemanand and Joshi. Bhai, who is from Gujarat, told them Joshi often stayed at his house while on his way to Aseemanand's ashram in Shabaridham, in Dangs district. He also told them that on February 16, 2007, Joshi and Pragya Singh Thankur — an arrested accused in the Malegaon blasts case — came to his house. While Pragya left, Joshi went on to Shabaridham from there and Bhai accompanied him.

Bhai also told the ATS Joshi was to take 'sanyas' but declined at the last moment. This angered Aseemanand and the two didn't see each other for three months after that.

Another bit of information Bhai gave the investigators was that after the Ajmer blast, Joshi called to say he'd "burst some crackers" in Ajmer and to inform Aseemanand. When Bhai called the swami, he said it was the ISI's handiwork and Joshi was just a loud mouth.