The Madras High Court on Friday upheld the life sentence awarded to 18 Al-Umma activists and also the exoneration of People's Democratic Party leader Abdul Nasser Madani by a trial court in cases relating to the 1998 Coimbatore serial bomb blasts in which 52 people were killed and over 200 others injured.
A division bench comprising Justices Praba Sridevan and M Satyanarayana, however, acquitted 21 Al-umma activists, setting aside their conviction by the special court in Coimbatore in 2007.
The bench was passing orders on petitions filed by 39 'convicts' appealing against the trial court's sentence and also on the revision petition challenging acquittal of Madani, leader of Kerala-based Islamic outfit PDP.
The court also dismissed another revision petition seeking enhancement of the life sentence awarded by the trial court to Al-Umma founder S A Basha.
The appeal against Madani's acquittal by the lower court was filed by father of a victim of the blast that coincided with the visit of senior BJP leader L K Advani [ Images ] for an election campaign meeting to Coimbatore on February 14, 1998.