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Ajmer dargah blast case: Swami Aseemanand an 6 others acquitted, 3 convicted

A National Investigation Agency (NIA) Special Court in Jaipur on Wednesday convicted three persons and acquitted seven, including Swami Aseemanand, in the 2007 Ajmer dargah blast case. Of a total of 13 accused, three are absconding.

Those convicted are Bhavesh Patel, Devendra Kumar and Sunil Joshi. Of them, Joshi was murdered in December 2007. The court imposed a fine of Rs. 1 lakh each on Patel and Kumar. NIA special judge Dinesh Gupta fixed March 16 for hearing arguments and pronouncing the order on sentencing the convicts.

The blast in the 13th century dargah of Sufi mystic Khwaja Moinuddin Chishti on October 11, 2007, during Ramzan, left three people dead and 17 injured. The dargah was packed to capacity with about 5,000 devotees when the blast occurred at the time of Iftaar (breaking of fast).

Swami Aseemanand's confession in the case before a Metropolitan Magistrate at the Tis Hazari courts in Delhi made headlines in December 2010. He stated that he and other activists were involved in bombing various places of worship across the country for taking revenge against the ''terror acts of Muslims''.

The judge had twice deferred judgment in the case, saying it was a voluminous matter and he required more time for studying the documents submitted by the prosecution and the defence.

The case was transferred in 2011 from the Rajasthan Anti-Terrorism Squad to the NIA, which filed three supplementary charge sheets in the court. The case was fast-tracked after the change of government at the Centre in 2014.

Besides Swami Aseemanand, Patel, Devendra Kumar and Joshi, the other accused in the case are Lokesh, Chandrashekhar, Harshad Solanki, Mehul Kumar, Mukesh Vasani and Bharat Bhai.