Court to give out Coimbatore blasts verdict

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Coimbatore, Sept 28: The Special Sessions Court will begin delivering the sentences in the 1998 Coimbatore serial bomb blasts case from today.

Of the 166 accused, the court had convicted 158 on various charges, including the founder of the Al-Umma, Syed Ahmed Basha and its General Secretary, Mohammed Ansari. Of this, the court had found 70 of the accused guilty on various grounds, including conspiracy.

The court had acquitted Abdul Nasser Madani, the leader of the Kerala-based People's Democratic Party. The court had also given bail to seven others.

Tight security arrangements have been made across the Coimbatore city. Around 3,500 police personnel, including paramilitary forces and 1,500 armed personnel have been deployed.

The verdict came nine years after the 12 blasts that rocked the city on February 14, 1998 in which 58 people were killed and over 200 were injured.

The blasts were targeted at a venue where senior Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader L K Advani was scheduled to address a meeting.

In April 2000, a Special Court was formed to try the cases, and in the same year (October), charges were framed.

The trial started in March 2002, and has till date examined 1,300 witnesses out of a total of 2,345.

The arguments began in June 2006 and ended on April 10, 2007.

The Special Investigation Team of Tamil Nadu Crime Branch-Criminal Investigation Department, which probed the cases, has argued that "Operation Allahu-Akbar", was part of a conspiracy to eliminate Advani.

ANI>

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