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Serial blasts: court verdict from today

V.S. Palaniappan

Coimbatore: The Judge of the Special Court for Bomb Blast Cases, K. Uthirapathy, on Wednesday will begin spelling out the findings of the court in respect of the 220 core charges framed against the 166 accused, invoking 21 sections of four legal provisions.

The Coimbatore serial blasts on February 14, 1998 left more than 50 dead and over 250 injured, when Bharatiya Janata Party leader L.K. Advani visited Coimbatore for electioneering.

The Special Investigation Team (SIT) of the CB-CID and the City Police arrested 166 persons, including the founder of the Al-Umma (Arabic word meaning Our Society for protection of Islam), Syed Ahmed Basha, general secretary Al-Umma Amir, Mohammed Ansari, Tajudeen, Nawab Khan (Basha’s brother), “ace-bomb maker” Bashid, Siddiq Ali (son of Basha), Kerala-based People’s Democratic Party (PDP) leader, Abdul Nasser Maudhany, and five members of the suicide squad.

The SIT, in its 17,000-page charge sheet, stated that the blasts engineered by the Al-Umma, under ‘Operation Allahu Akbar,’ was to avenge the killing of 18 youths of the minority community in the riots and police firing that followed the stabbing of traffic constable R. Selvaraj on November 29, 1997. Of the 2,345 witnesses cited by the prosecution, 1,300 were examined.

85-day deposition

The Chief Investigating Officer of SIT (now the Special Officer in the case on retirement), M. Rajasekharan had deposed for 85 days during the examination of witnesses. The court, after hearing the arguments on sentence by the defence on August 6, is expected to pronounce it.

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