August 19, 2015 12:00:58 am
Yet another key witness in the 2007 Ajmer blast case turned hostile on Tuesday, taking the total to 20 such witnesses so far. Ram Charan Patel, who had allegedly given shelter and provided help to Sunil Joshi, one of the main accused in the case, and four others a year before the blasts took place in November 2007, told a National Investigation Agency court in the state capital that he did not know Joshi or the others.
Patel had earlier told investigators that he was in touch with Joshi and knew the others too. Joshi, however, was shot dead in Dewas, Madhya Pradesh, two months after the blasts.
The witnesses who have turned hostile so far are Randhir Singh, Rohit Kumar Jha, Bhanu Singh, Sonu Pandey, Vishnu Patidar, Swapnil Joshi, Ishan Chawla, Vinod Kumar Shav, Parimal Pal, Gautam Pal, Vimal Pal, Sugandhi Devi, Goverdhan Singh, Hari Narayan, Sarita Pandey, Anand Raj Kataria, Ajay Chauhan, Shakti Singh and Lal Krishna Joshi.
All of them are either active RSS workers or owe allegiance to the Sangh in some capacity or the other.
The public prosecutor in the case had earlier told The Indian Express that the increasing number of witnesses turning hostile has hit the case hard and what was looking like a watertight case seems to be falling apart.
Four years after the November 10, 2007 blast in Ajmer shrine that killed three and injured 15 others, the case was handed over to the NIA but the hearings kept getting postponed as the witnesses made over a dozen applications delaying their appearance before the court.
They cited threat to their lives among other reasons.
However, after the change of regime at the Centre, it was decided that the hearings in the case will be fast-tracked and at least five hearings will be held in a month.
Since June 2014, five hearings are being held every month and even as the hearings started from a scratch, 100 of the over 250 witnesses have been cross-examined.
While three hearings have already been held this month, the next hearings in the case is slated for August 25 and 27.
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