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Samjhauta express blast: Twist, turns and when the US blamed Lashkar

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New Delhi, Mar 11: The investigations into the Samjhauta Express blast case has witnessed several twists and turns. While the chargesheet by the National Investigation Agency named Swami Aseemanand, Lokesh Sharma, Sunil Joshi, Sandeep Dange and Ramchandra Kalasangra alias Ramji as accused in the case, a probe into the role of the Lashkar-e-Tayiba had also been probed.

The probe initially began with the agencies blaming the Lashkar-e-Tayiba for the incident. However later it took a turn, with a new set of accused being blamed for the attack.

Samjhauta express blast: Twist, turns and when the US blamed Lashkar

However in 2016, the NIA was again looking at the role played by one Arif Kasmani. The NIA had sought evidence from the United States of America regarding Kasmani, a Lashkar-e-Taiba operative who is alleged to have funded the blasts on the Samjhauta Express.

Samjauta Express blasts: A timeline

On February 18 2007 bombs planted in two carriages of the Samjautha Express exploded killing 68 persons and injuring several others. It was stated after the blast that it was the handiwork of the Lashkar-e-Taiba.

However the probe a year later took a complete different turn with investigators blaming a group called the Abhinav Bharat.

It may be recalled that it was the US treasury department which had suggested in June 2009 that Kasmani could have funded the operation.

The NIA team will meet with officials in the US including those from the FBI to seek out more details regarding the case and the Kasmani angle. If the Kasmani angle is ascertained then it becomes clear that there was a hand of the Lashkar-e-Tayiba in the blasts.

The case has seen several turns since the investigations commenced. At first it was blamed on the Lashkar-e-Taiba and the Students Islamic Movement of India

Later on investigators suggested that it could have been the handiwork of the Abhinav Bharat. The NIA team had even obtained a confession from Swami Aseemanand who was named as an accused in the case. During the confession, he speaks about the role of the Abhinav Bharat.

However the confession could not be used as Aseemanand denied giving any such confession. An accused has a right to deny a confession in police custody stating that it was obtained under duress.

The NIA following this has not been able to gather any concrete evidence to link the Abhinav Bharat. With the probe hitting a dead end the NIA has decided to take a re-look into the Lashkar-e-Taiba angle.

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