Staff Reporter

Judge orders their release on bail until final disposal of appeal

MADURAI: The Madurai Bench of the Madras High Court on Friday suspended the sentence imposed on 25 convicts in the Imam Ali escape case.

Ordering their release on bail until final disposal of the appeal against the conviction, Justice G. Rajasuria directed all of them to stay in Chennai and appear daily before the special investigation team of the Crime Branch-CID.

Prosecution counsel did not object to granting of conditional bail.

Though the Additional Sessions-cum-Fast Track Court III here had convicted 37 persons, only 32 preferred to challenge the conviction. In the meantime, seven of the 32 were released from jail as they had completed their punishment period.According to the prosecution, these convicts rescued two hardcore fundamentalists, Imam Ali and Hyder Ali, from police custody on March 7, 2002. The duo was picked up from the Tirumangalam police station near here after an intense exchange of fire. Country-made bombs were lobbed at the police station injuring two policemen.

The Sessions Court, on January 10, found all of them guilty under various sections of the Indian Penal Code, the Explosives Substances Act, the Arms Act and the Tamil Nadu Public Property Damages and Losses Act. While all 37 were sentenced to undergo five years imprisonment, seven of them were awarded seven years rigorous imprisonment.