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Samjhauta Express blasts: No Pakistani witness shows up in court

The incident took place on the night of February 18, 2007 when bi-weekly Samjhauta Express connecting Delhi and Attari, at India-Pakistan border in Punjab, was crossing Panipat.

punjab Updated: Aug 04, 2018 12:57 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times, Panchkula
Samjhauta Express blasts,bomb blasts,Chandigarh
The blasts on Samjhauta Express train had killed 68 people, mostly from Pakistan.(HT File )

None of the 13 Pakistan nationals appeared before the special National Investigation Agency (NIA) court which on April 7 had re-summoned them to depose as witnesses on Friday in the Samjhauta Express blasts case.

They had not appeared in the court in response to the previous two summons as well, issued in July and November 2017. Among the Pakistani witnesses, there are several survivors of the train blast tragedy in which 68 people, including 42 Pakistani passengers, were charred to death.

The initial investigation in the case was carried out by the Railway Police and the Haryana Police, but in 2010, the Centre handed over the probe to the NIA, which filed a chargesheet against alleged Hindu extremists Naba Kumar Sarkar alias Swami Aseemanand, Sunil Joshi (now dead), Lokesh Sharma, Kamal Chauhan, Rajender Chaudhary, Amit, Sandeep Dange and Ramchandra Kalasangra alias Ramji.

Mukesh Garg, counsel for Assemanand said, “None of the Pakistani witnesses showed up in the court.

This is for the third time they were summoned. Summons were sent through external affairs ministry, but no response was received from Pakistan.”

He said that earlier, Pakistan had sought four months’ time for sending 13 Pakistani nationals, after which the court had re-summoned them for August 3.

The next hearing in the case is scheduled for August 17.

“In the next hearing, NIA SP Nitish Kumar, judicial officer HS Dhaiya and nodal officer of BSNL, Bhopal have been summoned to depose in court.”

The incident took place on the night of February 18, 2007 when bi-weekly Samjhauta Express connecting Delhi and Attari, at India-Pakistan border in Punjab, was crossing Panipat.

Meanwhile, as per a notification dated July 12, 2018, the central government, on recommendation of the chief justice, Punjab and Haryana high court, has notified the CBI court at Panchkula, as the special court for trial of the scheduled offences investigated by the NIA, having jurisdiction over Haryana, and appointed Jagdeep Singh, additional district and sessions judge, special judge, CBI court, Panchkula, as the judge to preside over the said special court.

First Published: Aug 04, 2018 12:57 IST