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NIA claims breakthrough in Samjhauta blast case

Wednesday March 30, 2011 08:31:25 PM, IANS

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New Delhi: The National Investigation Agency (NIA), India's premier anti-terror probe body, Wednesday claimed a "breakthrough" in the probe into the 2007 Samjhauta Express train blast that killed 68 passengers, including 43 Pakistanis.

A day after India and Pakistan agreed on anti-terrorism cooperation - that includes sharing probe information on the Samjhauta blast and the 2008 Mumbai terror attack, the NIA, without naming anybody, said it has arrested a "key conspirator who confessed his involvement in the criminal conspiracy" of the train blast.

The "conspirator has also divulged names of co-conspirators, who had caused the blasts and further investigation is continuing", the NIA said in a statement.

The agency said the accused was arrested in December last year.

The NIA claim comes on the day Pakistani Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani watched the World Cup semifinals between the sub-continental rivals at Mohali at the invitation of his Indian counterpart Manmohan Singh.

At the home secretary-level talks here Tuesday, India had conveyed to Pakistan that it would share the findings of the Samjhauta blast probe after the investigation is completed.

In January, in a confessional statement before a magistrate, Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) leader Swami Aseemanand had conceded that he and other Hindu activists were involved in bombings at Muslim religious places, including the train blast, because they wanted to answer every "Islamist terror act" with "a bomb for bomb" policy.

Aseemanand, of the Vanvasi Kalyan Ashram in Gujarat's Dangs district, told the magistrate that in a 2006 meeting with other Hindu radicals, including murdered RSS leader Sunil Joshi and Thakur Pragya Singh, it was he who propagated the policy of "bomb for a bomb".

The NIA said the success in the case was achieved after "painstaking investigation" on the blast in the Samjhauta Express, a peace train between India and Pakistan.

The investigation was done "in a number of states, at different locations and also involved experts from the forensic science and railways," it said.

The NIA took over the probe in July last year.

The blast took place in the two coaches of the train in the intervening night of Feb 18-19, 2007 near Siwah village in Haryana.

Low intensity explosive materials were used in an improvised manner and kept in suitcases with incendiary oil kept in pet bottles.

The explosion completely damaged two compartments and also caused fire in three others.





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