The Caravan magazine cover story on Swami Aseemanand, which quotes him as saying RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat and functionary Indreshji were responsible for the Samjhauta Express blast in 2007, has raised a storm prior to the polls this year. While Aseemanand, who is in jail, on charges of masterminding the 2007 blasts has promptly denied the claims, the Caravan magazine has released tapes of the interview where he suggests something on those lines.
According to The Hindu, Swami Aseemanand is now planning to take legal action against the magazine and the journalist.
Aseemanand's lawyer JS Rana, has denied that these interviews quoted in the article had ever taken place.
"The contents of this article are false, baseless and concocted," he told NDTV.
The RSS too has slammed the report, saying its accuracy is 'questionable'. Spokesperson Ram Madhav termed the interview as "concocted".
"A lot of questions have been raised about the veracity of this interview. The veracity of the audio that has surfaced is also questionable," he told news agency PTI.
Aseemanand, in a statement to the press said that he never spoke about anything else except his social work with the said journalist. The Hindu quotes him as saying:
"I saw her several times as a reporter in the Panchkula court. But on January 9, she came as an advocate and wanted to help me. As I did not know her properly and I have my own counsel, I refused. Then she requested to discuss about the social works I did...”
Aseemanand also said: “I did not discuss any thing except my social works”."
In a statement, The Caravanmagazine said: "In the course of over two years, Aseemanand granted four exclusive interviews to The Caravan journalist Leena Gita Reghunath inside Ambala jail, the total duration of which ran into 09 hours and 26 minutes. In the last two interviews, Aseemanand repeated that his terrorist acts were sanctioned by the highest levels of the RSS—all the way up to Mohan Bhagwat, the current RSS chief, who was the organisation’s general secretary at the time... Knowing the national relevance of the sensitive information that Aseemanand revealed to The Caravan journalist, in an interview which was conducted with the full consent of Aseemanand, we place these facts in front of the public, along with a tape recording and transcript of parts of the conversation that mention Mohan Bhagwat."
Published Date: Feb 08, 2014 10:54 am | Updated Date: Feb 08, 2014 01:24 pm