Finally, after seven years and three charge sheets, the trial in Samjhauta blasts case will commence from February 24.
The special National Investigation Agency (NIA) court here on Friday framed charges against alleged Hindu radical Assemanand and three alleged bomb planters, Lokesh Sharma, Kamal Chauhan and Rajinder Chaudhary in the case.
On February 18, 2007, two improvised explosive devices (IEDs) exploded in the Samjhauta Express near Dewana railway station, Panipat, killing 68 and injuring 12 passengers. Samjhauta is a special train between India and Pakistan. Most of the victims were Pakistanis.
The court framed charges including for murder, attempt to murder, and relevant sections of the Railway Act, Explosive Substances Act, Prevention of Damage of Public Property and Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act against all the four.
There were four more accused in the case, Sunil Joshi, who was murdered on December 29, 2007, and Sandeep Dange, Ramchandra Kalsangre, and Amit alias Ashwani Chauhan — who all are absconding.
From first chargesheet submitted on June 20, 2011
Aseemanand was upset about Islamic jihadi/terrorist attacks on Hindu temples such as Akshardham (Gujarat), Raghunath Mandir (Jammu) and Sankat Mochan Mandir (Varanasi).
He expressed his anger during discussions with Sunil Joshi, Pragya Singh and Bharat Bhai. All of them discussed the attacks and over time, they developed (a desire for) vengeance not only against the misguided jihadi terrorists but against the whole Muslim community. Aseemanand put forward a bomb ka badla bomb theory.
Bharat Bhai had met Aseemanand in 1999 and become a close disciple of his. It was during 2003 that Aseemanand met Pragya and Joshi and they became very close.
In October 2005, RSS leader Indresh Kumar and others visited Shabri Dham, Gujarat. Joshi arranged a meeting between Aseemanand and Indresh. They discussed jihadi attacks on Hindu places of worships and the need to give a befitting reply.
In June 2006, the main conspiracy meeting took place at Bharat Bhai’s residence in Valsad, Gujarat, attended by Aseemanand, Sadhvi Pragya, Joshi, Sandeep Dange, Ramchander Kalsangra, Lokesh Sharma, Amit and Bharat Bhai.
Aseemanand, who presided over the meeting, reiterated his theory of Bomb ka jawab bomb se dena chahiye. All agreed. Dange suddenly got agitated and said, “Mandirs are being attacked everywhere and Hindus are silent.”
Joshi said, “Hindus are being killed and the government is running a Samjhauta train.” To this Dange replied, “We will blow up the Samjhauta train.”
A security personnel looks at burnt bogies of Samjhauta Express near Deewana Village, Panipat. (FILE PHOTO/PTI Photo)
Joshi intervened and brought some order to the agitated discussion. Aseemanand suggested blasts in Malegaon, Ajmer, Hyderabad and also on the Samjhauta train. Joshi took on the responsibility for all the blasts.
Joshi talked about targeting the Samjhauta Express, which he and Dange had already discussed. Joshi said they should, anyhow, stop the train, because most of the travellers in this train were Pakistani Muslims.
He had already done some groundwork. Joshi told them that there would be three groups, the first of white-collared people who would help motivate youngsters for the missions and provide shelter, the second of members who would procure raw materials for fabricating bombs, and the third to fabricate bombs and plant them.
Aseemanand and Bharat Bhai were in the first group and Joshi said he would be in touch with all these groups but people in any group should not try to make contact with those in another.
From second chargesheet, submitted on August 9, 2012
Kamal Chauhan, Kalsangra, Sharma, Amit, Chaudhary attended a training at Bagli forest in Dewas district of Madhya Pradesh in January 2006 organised by Sunil Joshi.
They were imparted training about preparation of pipe bombs and firing of pistol. Later, they also participated in the firing practice organised by Joshi at Karni Singh firing range at Faridabad in April 2006.
Kamal Chauhan along with Chaudhary conducted a reconnaissance of Jama Masjid and Old Delhi railway station during Nov/Dec, 2006, under the instruction of Sharma. They gave feedback to Sharma that there was adequate security arrangements at Jama Masjid while there was no security available at Old Delhi railway station and therefore exploding bombs in Samjhauta Express train could be easier and safer than planting bomb at Jama Masjid.
Planting of bombs
It is revealed that on the instructions of Sharma, Kamal Chauhan and Chaudhary reached Indore on February 17, 2007, and went to a room in Sarvsampan Nagar, Indore, where other accused persons namely Amit and Kalsangra were already present.
Kalsangra delivered four suitcases, one each to Sharma, Amit, Chaudhary and Chauhan containing the IEDs, which were planted later in Samjhauta Express.
Sharma, Amit, Chaudhary and Chauhan boarded Indore Intercity Express train at Indore Railway station on February 17, 2007, and reached Hazrat Nizamuddin railway station next morning on February 18, 2007, from where they took a local train and reached Old Delhi railway station.
The planters reached Jaipur by train after planting the bomb in Samjhauta Express and then to Indore by bus.
Role of RSS leader Indresh Kumar
The third chargesheet submitted on June 12, 2013, revealed that a meeting had taken place in October, 2005 in Jaipur which was attended by Lokesh Sharma, Sunil Joshi, Ramchandra Kalsangre, Shivam Dhakad, Pragya Singh and RSS leader Indresh Kumar where status and plight of Hindus and regular attack on Hindus by Jehadi Muslim etc were discussed.
“A discussion also took place on the need to do something to stop it,” said the chargesheet. NIA’s first charge sheet in the case also talked about Indresh giving Rs. 50,000 to Sunil Joshi for explosives and other items.
Rajinder Chaudhary had taken NIA investigators to forest area of Bagli village, Dewas, Madhya Pradesh, where demonstration of bomb explosion was carried out during their training. The soil samples of the crater formed due to blast revealed presence of high explosive RDX. The bombs used in Samjhauta train also had RDX.