Coimbatore, Oct 24: A court here today will pronounce sentence to 70 persons, who were convicted for their involvement in the 1998 Coimbatore serial bomb blasts. All were found guilty of major charges like criminal conspiracy and murder.
The founder leader of Al-Umma S A Basha and its General Secretary Mohammed Ansari are among the 70, who were convicted on August 1 after being found guilty.
Eighty-eight convicted of charges such as attempt to murder, possessing explosives and promoting communal hatred were sentenced to imprisonment ranging from 21 months to nine years.
As they had already served their prison term as undertrials, the Special Judge K Uthirapathi had ordered their release.
Tight security arrangements have been made in Coimbatore. A three-tier security ring has been placed around the court. The movement of public and vehicles has also been restricted around the court.
Police is also keeping a constant vigil on all sensitive pockets in the district.
In the case, the prosecuting agency registered cases against 168. Of these, one accused died in prison and another turned approver.
Of the 166 accused, a total of 158 have been convicted of various charges, while eight have been acquitted.
Among the eight not found guilty are PDP leader Abdul Nasser Madhani. They were also released.
Twelve blasts rocked the city on February 14, 1998 that killed 58 and injured over 200 others.
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 2000), charges were framed.
The trial started in March 2002, and has 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.