After a decade of the blast that shook Ajmer Dargah in 2007, the National Intelligence Agency’s (NIA) Special Court on Wednesday, pronounced life imprisonment on two accused Devendra Gupta and Bhavesh Patel and asked for a report to be submitted on the three men absconding in the case by March 26, 2017. However, now that the special court has finally come up with the sentence order, there is hope that the case would be nearing completion with the other accused being nabbed and subsequently punished.
So, what is the case? Let’s take a look:
– On October 11, 2007, terror struck the Sufi shrine of Khwaja Moinuddin Chisthi in Ajmer (Rajasthan) when a bomb blasted inside the complex killing three persons and injuring 17 others.
– The blast took place in the holy month of Ramjaan, after the evening prayer concluded and the devotees gathered for Iftaar. The bomb had been concealed in a Tiffin carrier, which workers typically used to store their lunch. Around 200 people were in and around the shrine at the time of blast.
– The case was handed over to the ATS Rajasthan and was later transferred to NIA which re-registered the case with the NIA police station in New Delhi on April 6, 2011.
– In the case, NIA accused Swami Aseemanand, along with several other people. Hatching a blast conspiracy, planting bombs, murdering and spreading communal violence were a few cases they had been charged with. However, the court had acquitted him on account of lack of substantial evidence.
– Among the others who had been charged were Chandrashekhar Leve, Mukesh Vasani, Bharat Mohan Rateshwar, Lokesh Sharma, Mehul Kumar and Harshad Solanki. All of these men, except Chandrashekhar Leve, were reported to be in judicial custody. The three absconding were Suresh Nair, Sandeep F Dange and Ramachandra. One of the accused Sunil Joshi had been murdered in 2007.
– In the period of 10 years, the Ajmer blast case saw several twists and turns with 26 of the total 149 witnesses turning hostile during the course of the trial, reported The Indian Express. Of the 26, most of them had testified before a magistrate under Section 164 of the Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC). The NIA filed three supplementary charge sheets in the case.