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The road ahead for the Samjhauta blasts probe

Last updated on: June 20, 2011 16:34 IST

The road ahead for the Samjhauta blasts probe

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Vicky Nanjappa

The Samjautha blasts chargesheet was finally filed after many twists and turns on Monday. The accused now are Swami Aseemanand, the late Sunil Joshi, Lokesh Sharma, Sandeep Dange and Ramchandra Kalasangra.

Although half the accused are either missing or dead, the National Investigative Agency has still gone ahead with this chargesheet and this is being seen as a measure to apply more pressure on Pakistan which is doing absolutely nothing about the 26/11 terror attacks in Mumbai.

The biggest talking point for Pakistan was the Samjautha Express blasts case ever since Swami Aseemanand made some stunning revelations about the persons really behind the blasts.

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Image: A policeman stands outside a burnt carriage of Samjhauta Express train near Panipat on February 2007 following two bomb blasts
Photographs: Desmond Boylan/Reuters
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Monday's chargesheet depends largely on Aseemanand's confession

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On February 18, 2007 a conspiracy was hatched to trigger a blast in this train. The plan was executed to perfection and at Panipat on that fateful day, the blast killed 68 people.

India was quick to suspect the Lashkar-e-Tayiba and accused it of attempting to derail the peace talks between India and Pakistan.

The first round of investigations was conducted by the Special Investigating Team, Haryana, and when they drew a blank, the case was handed over to the NIA only last year.

Monday's chargesheet, which depends largely on the confession by Aseemanand, states that he along with Sunil Joshi, Kalsangra, Dange and Lokesh Sharma entered into a conspiracy in order to carry out this attack.

Aseemanand had said during his confession that he was angered with the terrorism being carried out by jihadi outfits. During his various meetings with his associates, he had proclaimed that the 'only answers for bombs were bombs.'


Image: Swami Aseemanand

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'The train was chosen as number of Pak citizens travel in it'

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He also said that this train was chosen due to the large number of Pakistani citizens who travel in it.

As per the chargesheet, Aseemanand provided the finances and logistical support while Dange and the rest under the guidance of Joshi procured the material such as improvised explosive devices and executed the attack.

The NIA says that the chargesheet had to be filed due to procedure and if it was time barred then the accused could have sought bail on a technicality.

However, none of them say that this was done in a hurry so as to put pressure on Pakistan which is investigating the 26/11 case as well.


Image: Coffins of the Pakistani victims of Samjhauta blasts
Photographs: Reuters
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The road ahead for the probe

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The road ahead is long and it would be quite a task before the entire investigation to the case is complete. Swami Aseemanand is the only strong link that there is in the case and he is in custody.

He has spoken almost everything that was available and he has also managed to provide the required leads for the NIA.

Although confident, the NIA would still wait and see if Aseemanand maintains his confession when he is finally put on trial.

The next big link to the case was Sunil Joshi. This man, who was murdered under mysterious circumstances, is considered to be the over all chief of this group.

He was good at logistics and his cronies such as Dange and Kalsangra reported directly to him. He was the man with most of the answers such as the modules and the cells which were set up by this group.

However with Joshi dead, the biggest links to this case are now Dange and Kalsangra. The NIA had announced a reward of Rs 10 lakh on their head, but till date the whereabouts of the two remain unknown.

It would take some effort for the NIA to track these two men down since according to sources they are both believed to be hiding in Nepal. The NIA is however keeping a close tab on the two of them and their whereabouts.


Image: Ramchandra Kalasangra (l) and Sandeep Dange

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'We would need to look at the three cases in its totality'

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This case is not just about the four men in question. It is a well known fact that these men have not executed just the Samjautha blasts. They are behind the Ajmer and Mecca Masjid blasts in Hyderabad as well.

It was a well planned attack and was carried out with a lot of logistic support from the local modules of these respective places.

The NIA says that the two absconding men will have some answers to this.

"However, to get cracking on the entire modus operandi we would need to look at the three cases in its totality since it is the same module which has executed the attacks," a NIA official says.

In addition to all this the NIA is also looking for another accused in the case by the name Amit. He was an associate of Dange and helped him execute the three blasts.

Amit carries a reward of Rs 2 lakh on his head. He is also believed to be hiding in Nepal with Kalsangra and Dange.


Image: Samjhauta and other blasts accused Amit

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