A special NIA court has acquitted terror accused Swami Aseemanand in the Ajmer blast case. The court, however, found three men guilty.
Last year, Aseemanand was granted bail in Samjhauta Express blasts case, where he’s the prime accused.
Devendra Gupta, Bhavesh Patel and Sunil Joshi, who was murdered in December 2007, were convicted under various sections of the Indian Penal Code, the Explosive Substances Act and the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act.
The quantum of sentence will be announced on March 16, defence counsel Jagdish Rana told reporters.
The blast on October 11, 2007 in the dargah of Khawaja Moinuddin Chisti at the time of roza iftaar, had left three pilgrims dead and 15 injured.
The case was handed over to ATS Rajasthan and was later transferred to NIA which re-registered the case with the NIA police station New Delhi on April 6, 2011.
There were as many as 149 witnesses in the case and 451 documents were examined and the NIA filed three supplementary chargesheets in the case.
Eight accused —Swami Aseemanand, Bhavesh Patel, Harshad Solanki, Lokesh Sharma, Devendra Kumar, Mehul Kumar, Mukesh Vasani and Bharat Bhai – have been in judicial custody while one accused Chandrashekar is on bail.
According to the NIA, three accused Sandeep Dange, Ramchandra and Suresh Nair- are absconding. One of the accused Sunil Joshi was murdered in December 2007.
The NIA, which is controlled by the central government, had decided not to oppose the conditional bail granted to Aseemanand, chargesheeted in the 2007 Samjhauta blasts case.
A member of the Right-wing Hindu group Abhinav Bharat, Aseemanand has been in jail since December 2010. He was also named as an accused in the Hyderabad Mecca Masjid blast case.
On December 26, 2010, he was arrested by the CBI from Haridwar for his alleged role in the Mecca Masjid blast in which 14 persons were killed.
The Narendra Modi government had also declined to grant permission to challenge a bail order granted to two other Hindutva terror accused in the Mecca Masjid blasts case, Devender Gupta and Lokesh Sharma, on the “grounds of parity” since bail had been granted to Bharat Mohal Lal and Tejaram Parmar which had not been challenged by the prosecution.
The Special Public Prosecutor in Malegaon 2008 case Rohini Salian was said to have been eased out of the job after her claims that NIA was pressurising her to go soft on the accused, which included Sadhvi Pragya and Col. Srikant Purohit. However, the NIA has denied her charges.
(With PTI inputs)