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Madhani acquitted, 13 guilty

Agencies

Posted: Aug 01, 2007 at 0943 hrs IST

Abdul Nasser Madhani, Chairman of Kerala-based PDP, was acquitted of all the charges in the 1998 serial blasts cases by a special court that convicted 53 accused, including S A Basha, founder of banned Al-Umma.

Madhani, who is sick and suffering from various ailments, including diabetes, was exonerated of all charges, including conspiracy to trigger serial blasts in Coimbatore on February 14, 1998 that killed 58 people shortly before the then Home Minister L K Advani was to address election meetings in the city.

Out of 60 judgments given, Judge K Uthirapathy pronounced that charges of criminal conspiracy have been proved against 53 including S A Basha, founder of banned Al-Umma.

The Special Investigation Team has argued that the blast was part of conspiracy to eliminate Advani during his visit on that day, in retaliation to the killing of 17 Muslims as a fall-out of the murder of a traffic constable, Selvaraj, on Nov 29, 1997.

Amid tight security, Judge K Uthirapathy started delivering the verdict this morning on the 220 core charges against the 166 accused in the 19 bomb blasts which rocked the city during the election campaign visit of L K Advani, claiming 58 lives and injuring more than 200 people.

The sentences are expected to be pronounced from August 6,after hearing arguments by the defence.

The blasts also caused a property loss worth over Rs 14 crore in the industrial city.

Among the 168 arrested, majority of them owing allegiance to banned Al-Umma, one had turned approver and another died while in custody.

The Special Investigation Team of Tamil Nadu CB-CID, which probed the cases, has argued that the blasts, carried out under the title "Operation Allahu Akbar", was part of the conspiracy to eliminate Advani.

The trial began in March, 2002 and arguments in June 2006. It was completed on April 10 last, examining about 1,300 witnesses out of a total 2,345.

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