Samjhauta accused Aseemanand denies knowing Kamal Chauhan

Samjhauta accused Aseemanand denies knowing Kamal Chauhan

Samjhauta train bombing case accused Aseemanand today denied knowing Kamal Chauhan, a disgruntled RSS worker arrested by the NIA recently in connection with the case.

"I don't know Kamal Chauhan," Assemanand told reporters outside the special NIA Court here. Assemanand, who had earlier pleaded that he was not involved in the bombings, when asked if he knew Chauhan, claimed that he does not know who he is. "It's a conspiracy of the NIA," he alleged.

NIA's Special Prosecutor R K Handa said outside the court that the hearing in the Samjhauta case had been adjourned for March 7. Handa said that as NIA's Special Judge Subhash Mehla was on leave, the Court of Additional District and Sessions Judge, Kanchan Mahi adjourned the case till the next date.

"Today, arguments on framing of charges against Aseemanand and another accused Lokesh Sharma were to take place, but now they will take place on the next hearing," Handa said.

After his arrest from Noida, Kamal Chauhan had on February 14 claimed that he had planted bombs on board Samjhauta Express in 2007 that left 68 people, mostly Pakistanis, dead.

Chauhan had made this statement before media persons as he was being taken out after in-camera proceedings in Panchkula court which granted NIA his custody till February 24 for questioning him on his alleged role in the blast in the Delhi-Lahore train.

Assemanand's remarks came as NIA alleged that Indore-based Chauhan had planted bombs on board Samjhauta Express and had undergone training in arms and explosives in Haryana and Madhya Pradesh.

Chauhan is believed to be a close aide of Kalsangra and Sandeep Dange, key accused in the Samjhauta case. After a four-year probe, the NIA had on June 20, 2011, charged Aseemanand, Sunil Joshi (now dead), Lokesh Sharma, Sandeep Dange alias Parmanand and Ramchandra Kalasangra alias Ramji for hatching a criminal conspiracy which resulted in blasts in the cross-border Samjhauta Express train near Deewana railway station in Haryana's Panipat district, about 80 km from Delhi, in February 2007.

68 people were left dead in the train blasts, mostly Pakistanis. NIA is also investigating the role of Sadhvi Pragya Thakur and Indresh Kumar in the blasts. In the charge sheet filed in June before the vacation court of ADSJ here, Kanchan Mahi, the NIA had accused the five of hatching a criminal conspiracy which resulted in bomb blasts in the train.
Swami Aseemanand and Sharma are already in judicial custody.

Apart from Ajmer Dargah blast, which claimed three lives and left 15 others injured, Aseemanand and Sharma are accused in several other blast cases across the country, including those at Hyderabad's Mecca Masjid and Malegaon.