The acquittal of right-wing activist Swami Aseemanand and six others in the 2007 Ajmer blast case by a special court in Jaipur on Wednesday is a probably a sign of things to come.
Judge Dinesh Gupta let off Swami Aseemanand and six others, giving them "benefit of doubt" in the case of the blast on 11 October, 2007 in the dargah of Khawaja Moinuddin Chisti at Ajmer at the time of Roza Iftaar, which had left three pilgrims and 15 others injured.
Swami Aseemanand is also an accused in the 2007 Samjhauta Express blast case. A total of 68 people were killed in the blasts in two coaches of Samjhauta Express train near Dewana railway station in Panipat on 18 February, 2007.
A member of right-wing Hindu group Abhinav Bharat, Assemanand has been in jail since December 2010. He was also named as an accused in Hyderabad Mecca Masjid blast case. On 26 December, 2010, he was arrested by CBI from Haridwar for his alleged role in the Mecca Masjid blast in which 14 persons were killed.
The Ajmer Dargah blast case verdict is significant because it will probably weaken the prosecution's case in the Samjhauta train blast and Mecca Masjid blast cases.
A report in The Times of India said that officials in probe agencies and legal experts explained that if he is the main link in these three similar and connected cases, and conspiracy could not be proven in the Ajmer blast case, it will be difficult to prove it in the other two also.
"NIA linked Samjhauta blast with Ajmer blast. The Jaipur court has ruled that Swami Aseemanand is innocent, which means NIA's theory in Samjhauta blast was also a bundle of lies," the report quoted Manbir Rathi, Aseemanand's lawyer in Samjhauta blast case, as saying.
Another report in NDTV said that in December 2011, Aseemanand had told a court that he was, in fact, not only involved in terror attacks but was also an ideologue to terrorists and had even picked the location of the attacks. However, he had later retracted his confession in an editorial in RSS-linked magazine Organizer.
The grim picture in the cases against militant Hindu nationalists emerges through this article in Hindustan Times, which pointed out that over 36 witnesses out of 149 in the Ajmer blast case turned hostile.
Over the last three years — or, in other words, since the Modi government came to power — the pace of probes has slowed down and witnesses have turned hostile in cases in which the accused are linked with BJP or RSS, said the article.
With inputs from PTI
Updated Date: Mar 09, 2017 15:30 PM