Finally, after seven years and three chargesheets, the trial in the 2007 Samjhauta blasts case will commence on February 24, with the special National Investigation Agency (NIA) court here on Friday framing charges against Aseemanand, a former activist of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), and alleged bomb planters Lokesh Sharma, Kamal Chauhan and Rajinder Chaudhary.
On February 18, 2007, two improvised explosive devices (IEDs) had exploded on the Lahore-bound Samjhauta Express near Dewana railway station, Panipat (Haryana), killing 68 passengers and injuring 12. Most of the victims were Pakistanis. Samjhauta is a special train that runs between India and Pakistan.
The court framed charges under the Indian Penal Code (IPC), including murder and attempt to murder, and under sections of the Railway Act, Explosive Substances Act, Prevention of Damage of Public Property and Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act against the four persons.
Among the four other accused in the case, Sunil Joshi was murdered on December 29, 2007, while Sandeep Dange, Ramchandra Kalsangre and Amit alias Ashwani Chauhan are absconding.
Ajay Kaushik, counsel for Lokesh Sharma, said, "We will examine the possibility of filing an appeal in the Punjab and Haryana high court against the framing of charges. There is still no evidence to link the accused to the Samjhauta blasts."