NEW DELHI: In a delaying tactic, Pakistan has asked India to give four more months to take a decision on producing 13 witnesses before a special Haryana court in 2007 Samjhauta Express blasts case. A special NIA court at Panchkula had issued summons last month ordering Pakistani authorities to send the 13 witnesses to India for the trial. Out of 299 witnesses, court proceedings for 249 have been completed.
Through diplomatic channels Pakistani has conveyed that it needed four more months for taking a decision on producing the witnesses before the Indian court, official sources said.
The court, while issuing the summons on March 17, had asked the witnesses to appear before it from July 4. The NIA counsel would inform the special court about the decision of Pakistani authorities once the court resumes hearing on Tuesday, the sources said.
Sixty-eight people were charred to death in the blasts in two coaches of the Samjhauta Express in Panipat on February 18, 2007. The investigating agency had initially believed activists of the banned SIMI (Students Islamic Movement of India) were behind the blasts, but later concluded that the attack had been planned by a group with right-wing leanings. The NIA has filed a charge sheet against several people, including Swami Aseemanand, who walked free in the Ajmer Dargah blast case earlier this year after prosecution witnesses turned hostile.
The NIA had on June 20, 2011, filed the charge sheet before the special court at Panchkula under various provisions of the Indian Penal Code and Unlawful Activities (Prevention)
Act against five people – Naba Kumar Sarkar alias Swami Aseemanand, Sunil Joshi (now dead), Lokesh Sharma, Sandeep Dange and Ramchandra Kalasangra alias Ramji.