Samjhauta Express blast and accused Swami Aseemanand: All you need to know

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Swami Aseemanand
The Punjab and Haryana High Court on Thursday granted bail to Swami Aseemanand, a prime accused in 2007 Samjhauta Express blast case. Here is all you must know about the former Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh pracharak.

Who is Swami Aseemanand?

Swami Aseemanand is a former RSS pracharak who is accused of plotting Ajmer Sharif blast, Mecca Masjid blast, 2006 Malegaon blasts and 2007 Samjhauta Express bombings.

He was arrested by the CBI on November 19, 2010 in connection with 2007, Mecca Masjid blasts.

He was handed over to National Investigation Agency (NIA) on December 24, 2010.

Following Aseemananda's arrest and his alleged confessions the probe agencies deduced the term "saffron terror".

Charges against Aseemanand

On January 24, 2014, the special NIA court in Panchkula had framed charges of murder and sedition against Aseemanand, Kamal Chauhan, Lokesh Sharma and Rajinder Chaudhary for planning and executing Samjhauta Express blasts.

As per a Tehelka report, Aseemanand allegedly confessed to the investigators about his involvement in a string of terror attacks and also explained the magistrate about the involvement of a few Hindutva leaders behind such terror attacks.

But on May 2011 he claimed that NIA had "pressurized" him to give such statements.

As per a report published in a magazine "The Caravan" in February 2014, Aseemanand had allegedly implicated the RSS chief, Mohan Bhagwat, and the RSS national executive council member Indresh Kumar, in bomb blasts.

Recent development

Aseemanand was granted bail on Thursday after he recently moved an application before the Punjab and Haryana High Court seeking his release on bail from the judicial custody.

In his plea, Swami Aseemanand had argued that there was not an iota of evidence with the prosecution to establish the case against him.

Swami also submitted that he has been in custody for the past four years and there are around 300 witnesses in the case, of whom some are in Pakistan and it would take years to complete the examination of all the witnesses.

"Keeping me in custody for so many years would be injustice to me," he had earlier pleaded before the court.

Samjhauta Express blast

Two coaches of Samjhauta Express, a peace train running between Delhi and Lahore, were bombed around midnight on February 18, 2007.

As many as 68 people were killed at Diwana near Panipat in Haryana. Of the fatalities, most were Pakistani citizens.

Some Indians, including three railway policemen, were also killed in the blast.

Lalu Prasad Yadav was the then Union Railways Minister.

Samjhauta Express

Samjhauta Express is a weekly train service running between Delhi and Lahore. The train service was launched in 1976 and served as the only rail connection between India and Pakistan until Thar Express was started.

Its service was temporarily stopped after December 13, 2001 terror attacks on Parliament in New Delhi. But the services were resumed later.

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