CHENNAI: A special court here on Thursday sentenced three Islamic fundamentalists to life imprisonment for their role in the 1993 bombing of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) office here in which 11 people were killed.
Designated Terrorists and Disruptive Activities (Prevention) Act Judge T. Ramaswamy awarded life sentences on Haider Ali, Khwaja Nizamuddin and Siddique, who are members of the Al Umma.
Eight others belonging to various minority institutions were given prison terms ranging between three and five years, while SA Basha, the founder of banned body Al Umma, and three others were acquitted.
The three were given life sentence as the prosecution proved that they were involved in the placing of the bomb in the regional headquarters under the supervision of Imam Ali, who was killed in a police encounter in Bangalore on Sep 29, 2002.
The judge ruled that the period for which the accused had already undergone imprisonment would be set off against their sentence.
The Central Bureau of Investigation, which probed the case, had chargesheeted 18 people on June 8, 1994. In all, 224 witnesses deposed before the court. Mushtaq, one of the accused out on bail is absconding.
In his 505-page judgment, the V Additional Sessions Judge/Designated Court-II under the TADA (P) Act, T.Ramasamy, said lack of religious tolerance was the root cause for many things, including the blast.
Besides Basha, the others acquitted were, Mukthar Ahmed, Aminudeen Sheriff and Mohamed Abdul Aslam. Abu Backer Siddique, Hyder Ali and Khaja Nizamuddin were sentenced to life imprisonment under various provisions of the IPC, including conspiracy, promoting enmity between different groups and murder, and under the Explosives Act, Explosive Substances Act and TADA. They were also sentenced to 10-year imprisonment under various counts. The sentences would run concurrently. (VSK, Chennai)