Aseemanand remanded in NIA custody till Jan 3

The NIA had brought Aseemanand, also accused in the 2007 Mecca Masjid blast case, from Hyderabad and produced him in a court here yesterday which remanded him to one day custody of the NIA as the Judge of the designated court was on leave.

After expiry of his one day custody, he was produced in the court of NIA Special Judge Ritu Garg who further remanded him to the agency's custody till January 3.
The hearing in the case took place in-camera as NIA had already moved an application in this regard keeping in view the "sensitivity" of the case.

In the court today, the NIA sought further remand of the Swami to extensively question his role in the Samjhauta train blasts.

Those providing legal assistance to Assemanand told reporters outside the court that the Swami is prepared to extend full cooperation to police in its interrogation even as he denied his role in the blast.

The February 2007 blast in the Samjhauta Express in Haryana's Panipat district left 68 people dead.

Aseemanand was arrested by the CBI on November 19 for his alleged involvement in the Mecca Masjid blast in Hyderabad in which nine persons were killed.

He was earlier living under a fake identity in Haridwar and had also procured fake identity cards.

A post-graduate in Botany, Aseemanand, whose real name is Jatin Chatterjee, is a resident of Hooghly in West Bengal and came to the tribal-dominated Dangs district in south Gujarat in the late 1990s.

His name had also come up during the probe in the 2008 Malegaon blast when ATS, Maharashtra, recovered the number of the Swami's driver from Sadhvi Pragya Singh Thakur, another Abhinav Bharat member and an accused arrested in that case.

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