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Court gives clean chit to main accused Madani


Sandhya Ravishankar,CNN-IBN
Oct 24, 2007 at 10:56am IST

Coimbatore: A sessions court in Coimbatore acquitted Kerala-based People's Democratic Party leader Abdul Nasser Madani, in the 1998 serial bomb blasts case, but found S A Basha guilty.

Basha, the founder of the al-Umma, a suspected Muslim terror outfit, was found guilty of "criminal conspiracy" and transporting bombs in the 1998 serial bomb blasts case.

Of the 14 accused in the blasts case, 13 people have been convicted. Madani was the only one who has been acquitted.

The judgment of the special court in the city, which began on Wednesday, comes almost nine years after 12 blasts ravaged the city.

It was on February 14, 1998 when hundreds had gathered in Coimbatore during the election campaign visit of senior BJP leader L K Advani that bombs went off at 12 different places in the city, including the rally site, killing 58 people.

Advani, who was to speak at the rally, was saved as his flight from Thiruvananthapuram was delayed by three hours.

It was the second time that terror had struck the city and left 58 dead and over 200 were injured in the 40 minutes that shook Coimbatore.

Investigations blamed the al-Umma and the Jehad committee for carrying out these attacks.

By 2002, 166 people were facing trial including Basha and Madani.

Mahdani, lodged in Coimbatore Jail for the past eight years, had sought bail from Madras High Court on health grounds and was given special facilities when the M Karunanidhi government came to power in Tamil Nadu in May last year.

The Prime Accused:

  • Abdul Nazar Madani: Leader of People’s Democratic Party, prominent Islamic leader of Kerala. Top Kerala politicians, including CM V S Achuthanandan have been seeking his release. He is also said to enjoy support of Tamil Nadu CM.
  • Syed Ahmed Basha: Al-Umma founder who rose very fast to prominence is also named in the blast at an RSS office. Basha’s brother and his son also accused in the Coimbatore case.
  • Mohommad Ansari: Basha’s deputy

The Case So Far:

  • February 14, 1998: The operation, code-named 'Operation Allahu-Akbrar', had hit the city and suburbs by a series of 12 powerful blasts. The deadly blasts left 58 people dead and injured over 200.
  • April 7, 2000: Special Court constituted to try cases
  • October 23, 2000: Charges framed
  • March 7, 2002: Trial commences, 1,300 witnesses examined
  • June 2006: Prosecution and defence arguments begin
  • April 10, 2007: Arguments end
  • October 24, 2007: S A Basha given life sentence. Mohammad Ansari gets two life sentences to run concurrently.

<table width="100%" border="0" cellpadding="3" cellspacing="2"> <tr bgcolor="#AE111D"> <td height="20" colspan="2" valign="middle" bgcolor="#DB1524"><div align="center"><strong class="Wtext12">MADANI PROFILE</strong></div></td> </tr><tr bgcolor="#DCE9F8"> <td height="20" valign="middle" class="Btext12 pLeft10"><p><span class="Btext11 pLeft10"><img src="http://static.ibnlive.com/pix/sitepix/08_2007/madani100.jpg" width="100" height="109" hspace="5" vspace="3" align="left" /><img src="/pix/common/bullet.gif" width="7" height="7" alt="bullet" /></span> Abdul Nasser Madani is believed to be the chief conspirator of the blats.<br /> <span class="Btext11 pLeft10"><img src="/pix/common/bullet.gif" width="7" height="7" alt="bullet" /></span> He was arrested from his Kochi home on March 31, 1998.<br /> <span class="Btext11 pLeft10"><img src="/pix/common/bullet.gif" width="7" height="7" alt="bullet" /></span> One of the 166 accused, Madani was initially arrested under the Terrorist and Disruptive Activities Act, while charges under other acts were slapped on him later.<br /> <span class="Btext11 pLeft10"><img src="/pix/common/bullet.gif" width="7" height="7" alt="bullet" /></span> Madani was booked for giving shelter to two people allegedly involved in effecting the explosions</p> <p><span class="Btext11 pLeft10"><img src="/pix/common/bullet.gif" width="7" height="7" alt="bullet" /></span> He has been charged under various sections of the Indian Penal Code including 153 (a) for spreading communal hatred, 120 (b) for criminal conspiracy, 124 (a) for sedition and also under the Arms Act.</p> <p><span class="Btext11 pLeft10"><img src="/pix/common/bullet.gif" width="7" height="7" alt="bullet" /></span> In 1990 he formed the radical outfit Islamic Sewak Sangh or ISS, which he said was in opposition to the RSS.<br /> <span class="Btext11 pLeft10"><img src="/pix/common/bullet.gif" width="7" height="7" alt="bullet" /></span> The government banned the ISS in 1993, in the wake of the Babri Masjid demolition</p> <p><span class="Btext11 pLeft10"><img src="/pix/common/bullet.gif" width="7" height="7" alt="bullet" /></span> He later launched the People's Democratic Party to forge a broad Muslim-Dalit-backward alliance.</p> </td> </tr> </table>

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