Coimbatore blasts: Life term to 3 more

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Coimbatore, Oct 26: The Special Court, hearing the 1998 serial bomb blasts case, today awarded life imprisonment to three more convicts and 13 years rigorous imprisonment (RI) to two, thereby concluding the passing of sentences on all the convicts.

Special Judge K Uthirapathy also discharged approver Riyas-ur-Rahman from the case. However, he would not be set free as he was involved in three other cases, including the Classic Tower bomb planting case.

The Judge said copies of the judgement would be handed out to all the convicted on October 29.

Out of the 70 convicted of serious charges like criminal conspiracy, murder and rioting, the Judge had awarded four life terms to one Abdul Ojir, triple life imprisonment to Jehangir, double life imprisonment to 26, including Al-Umma General Secretary Mohammad Ansari and lifer to 15, including Al-Umma founder-leader S A Basha.

As many as 15 convicted in the case have been sentenced to 13 years RI, ten to ten years RI and two to seven years RI.

Besides, all the convicted were sentenced ranging from three years to ten years for other charges like unlawful assembly, attempt to murder and under the Explosives Act. However, all the sentences would run concurrently.

As many as 12 sentenced to less than ten years were relieved from the case immediately by giving them remission as they had already served over nine years in prison. However, only nine of them were released from prison as the other three were either involved or convicted in other cases.

After winding up the sentencing, the Judge came down from his chair and thanked the prosecution and defence advocates, the media and police for their cooperation in hearing the case.

Of the 168 arrested in connection with the blasts triggered on February 14, 1998, ahead of the visit of senior BJP leader L K Advani, claiming 58 lives and injuring 250, 158 had been convicted and eight others, including Kerala-based PDP Chairman Abdul Nasser Maudhany, acquitted as the charges against them were not proved. Another accused Mohammed Dustagir died in custody, while Riaz-ur-Rahman turned approver.

Eighty-eight persons had already been convicted of minor charges like attempt to murder and possession of explosives and were sentenced to undergo imprisonment for terms ranging from 21 months to nine years.

As they had already served their prison term as undertrials, the Judge had ordered their release.

UNI

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