Over a decade after the 2007 Samjhauta Express blast that claimed the lives of 68 passengers, mostly Pakistanis, comes a shocking revelation that once again puts the spotlight on the sinister ploy of the then political establishment to paint a religious cover over the entire incident.
Armed with power and intent on using the ghastly incident to push a political agenda, top officials gave an ugly twist to the incident just because the government of the day was bent on proving that the incident was a conspiracy of the so-called ‘Hindu militants’.
A retired officer involved in the investigating into the case has now laid bare how officials at that time not only twisted the entire case to give it a saffron touch but also let the main accused, arrested soon after the incident, go scot-free to just fulfill their agenda.
The whistleblower here is Gurdeep (now retired), who served as the Investigating Officer in the case. Gurdeep revealed before a court that a Pakistani national was arrested within a fortnight of the incident but was allowed to return to his country. This, despite the fact that he was the prime accused in the case.
The revelation by Gurdeep was made 12 days ago in a court. According to him, the arrested person, identified as Azmat Ali, was discharged in the case by top officials who were part of the probe team.
“I was summoned for cross examining on June 9. He (Ali) was discharged by the officials. The court had granted 14-day custody to police… police had visited all cities and places where he (Ali) had stayed. We had verified … the team which interrogated him comprised DIG RC Mishra, Additional DGP Haryana, SP Crime…. and others,” he said.
As per the documents submitted in the court by police, Ali was a Pakistani national. He was arrested near Attari border by Government Railway Police (GRP) on March 1, 2007 while he was exploring ways to return to Pakistan. During investigation, it was found that Ali was not carrying a passport, visa or any legal paper. He was later sent to the Amritsar Central Jail. During interrogation, Ali informed that he had arrived here on November 3, 2006 and that he was a Pakistani national. According to him, he was born to Mohammad Sharif and was a resident of Lahore. His residential address was: House no. 24, Gali no. 51, Hamam Street, Dist. Lahore (Pakistan).
After the blast, the description of the man who was believed to have planted the bomb in the ill-fated train was described by two eyewitnesses (Shaukat Ali and Rukhsana). Ali matched the description was and this was conveyed to the team which was probing the blast. Later, Ali was handed over to the team of police probing the incident. The probe team had on March 6, 2007, sought 14-day custody of Ali. In its affidavit, the police had clearly told the court that Ali was arrested by the GRP on the basis of a sketch developed by security forces following inputs provided by the eyewitnesses. Besides, Ali’s sketch was also extensively circulated in media. The court had at that time sent Ali to 14-day police custody.
During the investigation, Ali also revealed that after landing here, he undertook a recce of Delhi, Mumbai, Goa, Kanpur, Allahabad, Shikohabad, Surat, Ajmer Sharif and other prominent cities. Each time, he produced fake identity cards to book hotels. Gurdeep claimed that police visited each of the hotels where Ali had stayed and spoke to people with whom he had met.
Shockingly though, on March 20, when Ali’s 14-day police custody ended, the court granted him bail because police told the court that investigation was over and no concrete evidence of Ali’s involvement was found in the blast.
In its bail order, the court noted the police’s version that ‘since the investigation was over and no proofs have been found against him (Ali), he should be discharged from the case’.
As per the documents available with India TV, the then UPA government had said that LeT was involved in the blast. But on July 21, 2010, top police officials had held a closed-door meeting. The noting of the meeting, accessed by India TV, says that the Haryana Police had failed to take the probe to a logical conclusion and thus the case should be handed over to the NIA. It was only during this meeting, when the officials decided to probe the role of Hindu groups in the blast.
“This is a very serious issue. Arrested Pakistani man was allowed to return to his country and people of our country were wrongly framed. This was done at the behest of then government. The government wanted to give the entire incident a political touch,” Haryana Minister Anil Vij said.
“…the Haryana Police wanted to grill the arrested man but he was allowed to return to Pakistan despite the fact the he was not carrying passport, documents… This is a clear betrayal… this can’t be possible without Sonia Gandhi’s intervention. This must be probed thoroughly,” BJP leader Subramanian Swamy said.
The 2007 Samjhauta Express bombing was a terrorist attack that struck around midnight on February 18, 2007. Bombs were set off in two carriages, both filled with passengers, just after the train passed Diwana station near Panipat in Haryana. 68 people were killed in the incident. Of the 68 fatalities, most were Pakistani civilians.