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Swami Asseemanand, radical Hindu activist, was on Saturday presented before the chief judicial magistrate (CJM) in Panchkula to record his statement in connection with the 2007 Samjhauta Express blasts case. Aseemanand, who was sent to judicial custody Thursday and lodged in Ambala jail, was taken to the court of CJM Rakesh Singh around 12.15pm.

The National Investigation Agency (NIA) on Thursday moved a petition to record Aseemanand’s statement before a magistrate. The proceedings were held in-camera and no mediaperson was allowed to enter the court.

Aseemanand, a member of the right-wing Hindu group Abhinav Bharat, was brought here from Hyderabad Dec 23 for his alleged involvement in the Samjhauta Express bombing. He is also an accused in the 2007 Mecca Masjid blast in Hyderabad in which 14 people were killed.

The NIA is questioning Aseemanand about his role in the Samjhauta Express blasts Feb 18, 2007, at Diwana village near the industrial town of Panipat, 160 km from here, in Haryana.

The bombing, which killed 68 people, took place in two bogies of the Samjhauta Express, a peace train between India and Pakistan. A majority of the 68 victims were Pakistani nationals.

The train was going from Delhi to Attari, the last station on the Indian side. The passengers were to board the Samjhauta Express train to Lahore city in Pakistan the next day (Feb 19).

Aseemanand was arrested by the Central Bureau of Investigation Nov 19 last year from Haridwar in Uttarakhand for his alleged role in the Mecca Masjid blast.

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