Why was Lashkar, SIMI kept out of the Samjautha Express probe?
A 2008 narco analysis test of a SIMI leader resurfaced on Monday in which he is heard speaking about the role of his outfit and Pakistan in the Samjautha Express Blasts case.
There were three tests in all that were carried out at Bengaluru. Safdar Nagori his brother Kamruddin and Amil Pervez were subjected to the narco analysis test. In the test he speaks about the direct link between the SIMI and Samjautha Express blasts of February 2007 in which 68 persons were killed.
It was at around the same time that the US had pointed towards the role of a Lashkar-e-Tayiba financier, Arif Qasmani in the blasts. The state department said that the blasts were funded by Qasmani. A further probe into this revealed that the SIMI operatives Ehtesham Siddiqui and Abdus Subhan were in touch with the Lashkar cadres and had planned this blast. The investigations also found that the Lashkar orchestrated this blast at the behest of the ISI to derail peace with India.
And then came the Hindu terror conspiracy:
Just prior to the Mumbai 26/11 attacks, several terror cases started to witness a role reversal. The Ajmer Dargah, Malegaon, Mecca Masjid and Samjautha Express blast cases were all blamed on the Hindus.
Each of these cases had two chargesheets and two sets of accused. Many had even cried foul stating that the UPA had deliberately changed the focus of these probes. The BJP which was in the opposition at that time blamed the UPA's appeasement policy for this role reversal.
Hemanth Karkare, the Maharashtra ATS chief who made the revelations regarding a Hindu angle was killed in the 26/11 attack which led to further conspiracy theories. It was said that he was killed by some Hindu activists who were upset with his latest revelations. This was however completely rubbished by the Mumbai crime branch which probed the 26/11 attack case.
And then came the NIA:
All these cases were then handed over to the NIA. At the start of the probe, the NIA secured a confessional statement by Swami Aseemanand. In the statement he confessed to be part of the conspiracy to carry out the attacks including the one on the Samjautha Express.
However this statement did not pass legal scrutiny as it was made under duress. Subsequently the man the NIA termed as the prime accused in the case was acquitted in most of them.
Not over as yet:
The NIA's chargesheet points towards the role of Hindus in the Samjautha Express blasts case. However the NIA says that the case is not closed as yet. It is still exploring fresh evidence. Moreover there has been a delay in the trial since Pakistan has not yet sent the 13 witnesses in the case.
Back in April the NIA was back to probing the Lashkar angle to the case. It had sought evidence from the US on Qasmani. A team of the NIA had visited the US to seek evidence about the Lashkar. It was the US which had first pointed to the role of the Lashkar in the case while basing its information on the intelligence it collected.