Court rejects bail plea of Samjhauta blast case accused

Samjhauta BlastSamjhauta Express Blast (AP)

A special National Investigation Agency (NIA) court has rejected the bail application of Rajender Chaudhary alias Pehalwan, a key accused in the Samjhauta Express blast case.

The court here yesterday also extended the time for filing the chargesheet by the NIA against Chaudhary from 90 to 180 days.

In his bail plea, Chaudhary had contended that there was no evidence against him and that he had completed 90 days in custody on March 16, but NIA had failed to present a report against him and he was entitled to grant of bail.

However, the NIA counsel opposed his bail, maintaining that he was required for further investigations in the case.

The investigating agency had also moved an application seeking further time to file the chargesheet against Chaudhary, which the court allowed.

After his arrest in December last year, the NIA had then told the special court that Chaudhary, who allegedly planted a bomb in Samjhauta Express in 2007, played a key role in the entire operation. They claimed that he was "instrumental" in preparation and procuring the explosive devices.

Chaudhary, who is in his mid-30s, was arrested by the NIA on December 15 last year from Nagda, 50 kilometres from Ujjain. He was living there under an assumed name.

A huge explosion had occurred in Samjhauta Express near Panipat, Haryana, on February 18, 2007 and the subsequent fire in the coaches had resulted in the loss of 68 lives and injuries to 12 train passengers, including women and children.

The initial probe into the bomb blast was conducted by the Government Railway Police and Special Investigation Team of Haryana Police. It was subsequently taken over by NIA on July 29, 2010 following a directive from the Home Ministry.

NIA had on June 20, 2011 filed the chargesheet before the special court under various sections of the Indian Penal Code and Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act against five accused -- Naba Kumar Sarkar alias Swami Aseemanand, Sunil Joshi (now deceased), Lokesh Sharma, Sandeep Dange and Ramchandra Kalasangra alias Ramji.

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