New Delhi: Pakistani citizen Rahila Wakil, the daughter of one of the victims in 2007 Samjhauta Express blast case, has requested the director of the National Investigation Agency not oppose her application requesting the special court to allow deposition of Pakistani witnesses in the case. This comes just a day before pronouncing the verdict of the case. The application was filed under Section 311 Code of Criminal Procedure before the Panchkula court, on Monday.
The court was expected to give its verdict on Monday, but the pronouncement was deferred after filing of Rahila Wakil’s sudden application in the case, in which she claimed that no proper summonses were sent to the 13 Pakistani witnesses. She said the witnesses were ready to depose before the court.
According to her counsel, Momin Malik, in her letter mailed to the NIA director, on Wednesday, Wakil has requested the agency head to provide his “no objection” to the application “in the interest of justice, equity and fair play and true decision of the case on humanitarian grounds.”
The evidence was already closed by the trial court, as no satisfactory response was received from Pakistan government to the summonses sent through ministry of external affairs, before the filing of the application.
On February 18 in 2007, a bomb blast was carried out on the Samjhauta Express train, which runs between Delhi and Lahore, at Haryana’s Panipat. In the blast, 68 people including 44 Pakistani citizens, 10 Indian citizens and 14 unidentified people were killed.
Initially, after the probe, there were eight accused in the case. However, only four faced the trial. The prime accused is Swami Aseemanand alias Naba Kumar Sarkar. The Punjab and Haryana high court granted him bail in 2015. The other three who are facing trial are Kamal Chauhan, Rajinder Chaudhary and Lokesh Sharma. They are in judicial custody in Ambala jail.
Apart from these four, three accused – Amit Chouhan alias Ramesh Venkat Malhakar, Ramchandra Kalsangra and Sandeep Dange – have been declared as proclaimed offenders in the case. Another accused Sunil Joshi, who the NIA calls the “mastermind”, was killed in December 2007 in Madhya Pradesh’s Dewas.
Incidentally, Aseemanand was also accused in Hyderabad’s Mecca Masjid and Ajmer’s Moinuddin Chisti dargah blasts. However, he has been acquitted in the two cases.