A designated court in Chennai on Saturday sentenced to life imprisonment a key Naxal leader in Tamil Nadu, who had remained underground for 15 years, in a 1992 railway track blast case.
State CPI (Maoist) leader V Sundaramoorthy, arrested in July 2007, was sentenced to life terms by Designated TADA Judge Dakshnamoorthy for offences under the TADA, Explosives Substances Act and Railways Act. The sentences in the five separate cases will run concurrently.
According to the prosecution, a section of the track near Palacode in Dharmapuri District was blasted on October 5, 1992. A possible major train tragedy was averted as railway officials, on being alerted by some persons about the blasted track, halted an express train at Palacode station.
The judge also sentenced another accused Sisubalan to five years rigorous imprisonment.
Soon after the verdict was pronounced, Sundramoorthy's lawyer lost his cool and used 'foul' language against the judge for handing down life sentence to his client. He wanted to know how Sundaramoorthi, accused number three, was awarded life term when Sisubalan, A-2, was given five years RI.
The lawyer also charged the judge with not giving him an opportunity to plead for the Naxalite before announcing the sentence.
However it was later informed that the judge had asked the convict if he had anything to say and was told that his lawyer would answer on his behalf. The lawyer remained silent and the judge went ahead and read out the sentence.
Sundaramoorthi went underground after the blast. He was arrested on July 10, 2007 in connection with another case and was produced before the TADA judge on August 14 that year.
The chargesheet, filed by the police in 1993, said Sisubalan, Sundaramoorthi and another person, Velu, had met at a farm house in Dharmapuri District and hatched the conspiracy on October 2 and 3, 1992. The railway line was blasted two days later.
Sisubalan was covicted on October 29,2003. The case was split and Velu is yet to be traced.
Counsel for the convict said he would challenge the conviction in the appellate court.