When a National Investigation Agency (NIA) court in Panchkula was about to pronounce its verdict in the 12-year old Samjhauta Express blast case, a Pakistani national moved an application, wanting to depose before the court on Monday.
Sources said the applicant is one of the two possible witnesses from Pakistan whom summons were issued on several occasions in past, but they didn’t turn up to depose before the court.
Approaching the court at the verge of delivering the verdict is viewed as a tactic to obstruct the verdict being delivered today.
The case pertains to blasts in two coaches of the Samjhauta Express near the Dewana railway station in Panipat, Haryana in February 2007. At least 68 people including some Pakistani nationals, died in the blast.
Though an SIT probe was ordered, the case was transferred to NIA in July 2010.
In June 20 2011, the NIA filed a charge sheet naming eight people Swami Aseemanand, Lokesh Sharma, Sunil Joshi, Sandeep Dange and Ramchandra Kalasangra alias Ramji as accused.
The charge sheet had as many as 290 witnesses including some from Pakistan.
While Sunil Joshi, the alleged mastermind, was said to be murdered in 2007, Ramachandra Kalsangra and Sandeep Dange are said to be absconding.
The case was branded as an example of Hindu terrorism in some political quarters, which was used by Pakistan ad nauseam.
In a big twist, though, an ex-investigating officer in the case, Gurdeep, told the court in June 2017 that a Pakistani national named Azmat Ali was arrested within two weeks of the incident and named as the prime suspect. But he was let off and allowed to return to his country.
Ali matched the description of two eyewitnesses (Shaukat Ali and Rukhsana) of the man who planted the bomb. And during the 14-day police custody Ali had reportedly admitted to undertaking a recce of several cities including Delhi, Mumbai, Goa, and Allahabad. Each time, he produced fake identity cards to book hotels. According to Gurdeep, police verified what Ali said by visiting the hotels he stayed during that time.
Even police documents had reportedly mentioned that LeT terror organisation was involved in the blast. However, Ali was mysteriously given a clean chit by the police.
And after the case was taken over by the NIA, the case took an altogether different colour as Swami Aseemananda and others being enlisted as accused.
Ironically, on July 1, 2009, David Coleman Headley, who was involved in 26/11 Mumbai blasts had deposed before a Mumbai court through video conference revealing Pakistan based LeT’s hand in the Samjhuata express blast. “Arif Qasmani has worked with the LeT to facilitate terrorist attacks, including Samjhauta Express bombing.”