Samjhauta case: NIA arrests ‘bomb planter’
New Delhi, Mon Feb 13 2012, 03:15 hrs
In a significant breakthrough into the 2007 Samjhauta Express blast case, the National Investigation Agency (NIA) has arrested one person, identified as Kamal Chauhan, from Indore on Saturday. Chauhan was flown to Delhi on Sunday from where he is likely to be taken to Panchkula where the agency will seek his remand from the NIA court.
The blast had left nearly 70 dead and 100 injured — most of them Pakistanis.
According to the NIA, Chauhan, a resident of Moorkheda village near Indore, is alleged to be one of the conspirators in the case.
He is suspected to be one of the persons who planted the briefcases loaded with explosives on February 18, 2007.
“We will question him regarding his association with Sunil Joshi,” said a top NIA official.
Joshi had allegedly procured the two suitcases used in the twin blast from a shop in Indore.
During its investigations and especially after the arrest of Swami Aseemanand, the NIA had claimed that the blast was the handiwork of saffron terror outfits. The other key suspects — Sandeep Dange, Ramchandra Kalsangra and Ashok alias Ashwini Chauhan — are still on the run on whom the NIA has announced rewards ranging from Rs 2 to 10 lakhs.
Chauhan’s name does not figure among those declared proclaimed offenders by the NIA.
Officials said that his custodial interrogation will provide vital leads, particularly about the three missing accused persons and the sources of explosives.
The arrest comes as a major achievement for the NIA. The case had been put on the back-burner as there had been no significant movement. None of the accused could be arrested, and the NIA suffered a setback after Assemanand retracted his statements.