In a major breakthrough in the 2007 Samjhauta Express blast case, the National Investigation Agency (NIA) on Saturday arrested Rajesh Chaudhary, suspected to have planted bombs in the Pakistan-bound train, from Ujjain in Madhya Pradesh.
Chaudhary, who is also known as Samundar, carried a reward of Rs5 lakh. He was arrested and produced before a court in Ujjain which gave his transit remand to the agency, sources said, adding that he will be produced before a Panchkula court.
The breakthrough came after intense investigation being carried out in the case by the NIA which was handed over the probe in 2010, they said.
It is the fourth arrest in the case. The NIA has already arrested Kamal Chauhan, Aseemanand and Lokesh Sharma for their alleged involvement in the blast.
The bomb blasts in the Samjhauta Express near Panipat, Haryana on February 18, 2007 and the consequent fire in the train coaches had resulted in the loss of 68 lives and injuries to 12 train passengers including women and children.
The initial investigation into the bomb blast was conducted by the Government Railway Police and Special Investigation Team of Haryana Police and subsequently NIA took over the case on July 29, 2010 following a directive by the Union home ministry.
NIA had on June 20, 2011 filed a charge-sheet before the special court under various sections of the Indian Penal Code and Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act against five accused -- Naba Kumar Sarkar alias Swami Aseemanand, Sunil Joshi (now dead), Lokesh Sharma, Sandeep Dange and Ramchandra Kalasangra alias Ramji. Dange and Kalasangra are absconding.
The NIA had in August this year also filed a supplementary chargesheet in the case against disgruntled RSS worker Kamal Chauhan and his associate Amit in a special court at Panchkula charging them with murder, conspiracy and other offences.
Lokesh Sharma, a close associate of late Sunil Joshi, had sent Chauhan and Rajesh Chaudhary for the recee in December 2006. Later, Old Delhi railway station was selected (for planting bomb) from where the train originates, sources said. The Samjhauta Express was chosen as the target and both of them came to Indore on February 17, 2007 and took delivery of the suitcase bombs to be planted in the train on the next day.