Swami Aseemanand takes back confession, says he was “coerced”

via http://news.in.msn.com/national/article.aspx?cp-documentid=5092856 published on March 31, 2011

At an Ajmer court, on Tuesday, Aseemanand submitted a letter to the court which said: “I have been pressurised mentally and physically by the investigating agencies to ‘confess’ that I was behind these blasts.”

According to sources at the Ajmer court, he also said he was threatened and pressured to become a government witness in the case. He has also requested the court to reject his previous application in which he had wished to become a witness in the Ajmer blast case, sources said.

Aseemanand reportedly told the court he has no wish to turn approver in the case. He and three other accused in the Ajmer blast probe, including Harshad Solanki, Bharat Rateshwar and Mukesh Vasani, were produced in the Ajmer court yesterday where Aseemanand handed his application.

In his letter he also accused the Rajasthan ATS (handling the case so far) of not letting him hire a lawyer in the case. According to sources, Aseemanand has also written to the President about his alleged harassment by investigators.

Meanwhile, the ATS again failed to file a chargesheet against Assemanand and the other accused and has asked for. The court gave the ATS time till April 8.

Also, the Rajasthan government decided to hand over the investigation into the Ajmer dargah blast case to the National Investigation Agency (NIA).

However, the Rajasthan ATS declined to comment. A senior official said the investigation was genuine and that they did not want to comment about Aseemanand’s application to the court.

Senior lawyers said that Aseemanand told the court that the CBI and NIA put pressure on him to confess his role in the blasts, and allegedly threatened to “fix” him in false cases and put his “family in jail”.

It was Aseemanand’s confession to the CBI that exposed the intricate network of people and groups responsible for the series of blasts in Malegaon, Ajmer, the Samjhauta Express and Mecca Masjid in Hyderabad.

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