Aseemanand, 6 others acquitted in Ajmer shrine blast (Fourth Lead)

Jaipur, March 8 (IANS) A court here on Wednesday acquitted RSS leader Swami Aseemanand and six others in the Ajmer Sharif Dargah blast case of 2007 while convicting three other accused.

The special National Investigation Agency (NIA) court convicted Bhavesh Patel, Devendra Gupta and Sunil Joshi (now dead) and fixed March 16 for pronouncement of the sentence.

“The judge has convicted Bhavesh Bhai Patel, Devendra Gupta and Sunil Joshi in the case. Sunil Joshi has already died,” Jagdish Rana, advocate for Swami Aseemanand, told IANS, adding that all others have been acquitted.

The court has found three guilty under sections 120 B (criminal conspiracy), 295A (Deliberate and malicious acts, intended to outrage religious feelings of any class by insulting its religion or religious beliefs) of the Indian Penal Code, various sections of Explosive Substances Act and Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act.

“The judge will pronounce its judgment after hearing my arguments on March 16,” said Public Prosecutor Ashwani Kumar Sharma.

Three of the total 13 accused are still missing and on the run.

Three persons were killed and at least 15 others injured when a bomb exploded around 6.15 p.m. on October 11, 2007, inside the premises of the shrine of Sufi saint Khawaja Moinuddin Chisti.

Initially, police had blamed Islamic terror groups for the blast, but later a confession by Aseemanand shifted the focus of the probe towards Hindutva groups.

According to the NIA chargesheet, Aseemanand, Gupta, Chandrashekhar Leve, Mukesh Vasani, Bharat Mohan Rateshwar, Lokesh Sharma, Harshad Solanki, Patel, Sunil Joshi and others were accused of planting and exploding bombs inside the Ajmer shrine and murder.

–IANS

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