Ajmer blast case: NIA court acquits Swami Aseemanand, six others

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aseemanandFormer RSS activist Swami Aseemanand and six others were acquitted from the 2007 Ajmer Dargah blast case by a special National Investigation Agency court.

The court convicted three persons, including two who have been identified as RSS pracharaks. Besides Aseemanand, the others who were acquitted include Chandrashekhar Leve, Lokesh Sharma, Harshad Solanki, Mukesh Vasani, Mehul alias Mafat Bhai alias Maheshbhai Gohil and Bharat Mohan Lal Ratishwar.

The trio, Bhavesh Patel, Devendra Gupta and Sunil Joshi, were found guilty under Sections 120B and 295 A of the IPC, Sections 3 and 4 of the Explosive Substances Act and Sections 15,16 and 18 of the UAPA Act.

After his arrest, Aseemanand admitted to leading, planning and helping to execute blasts targeting minorities across India “to avenge attacks on Hindu temples”. Though Aseemanand later drew back his confession, the NIA chargesheeted him in Ajmer blast, Samjhauta Express blast and Mecca Masjid (Hyderabad) blasts cases.

He was accused of being the motivator of the group that executed the blasts. The blast in the Ajmer shrine on October 11, 2007 killed three persons and injured 17 others. The Rajasthan ATS first probed the case and it was later shifted to the NIA in 2011. The NIA filed three supplementary chargesheets, besides the original one filed by the ATS.

Of the total 14 who were accused in the case, one is dead (Sunil Joshi), while four are absconding. RSS leader Indresh Kumar was given a clean chit by the NIA. The same has not been accepted by the court.

According to the NIA’s chargesheets, on March 16, the court will pronounce the quantum of sentence after hearing arguments of both parties.

The Ajmer blast case saw several twists and turns with 26 of the total 149 witnesses turning hostile during the course of the trial.

Aseemanand is also an accused in the 2007 Samjhauta Express blasts case and in the Hyderabad Mecca Masjid blast case.

While he was granted bail in the 2007 Samjhauta Express blast case, trial in the Hyderabad case began over a month ago.