Coimbatore, Oct 24: A special court today awarded life imprisonment to 10 more convicts, for their involvement in the 1998 Coimbatore serial bomb blasts.
Five were awarded double life terms and others have been given jail ranging from 5 to 13 years.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.
A special court on Wednesday awarded life imprisonment to 31 persons, including the founder leader of the Al-Umma, S A Basha and General Secretary Mohammed Ansari.
The special court also awarded 10 years rigorous imprisonment to four others.
Those sentenced on Wednesday faced charges of conspiracy, murder, attempt to murder, rioting and abetment, besides charges under Explosive Substances Act, Indian Arms Act and Tamil Nadu Public Properties (Prevention of Damages and Losses) Act.
Earlier, 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.
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.
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.