A court at Tirupati in Andhra Pradesh today sentenced three Naxals to four years’ rigorous imprisonment in a case related to the October 2003 blast at Alipiri targeting the then Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu.
The accused Rammohan Reddy, Narsimha Reddy and M Chandra will also have to pay a fine of Rs 500 each, prosecutor Sudhakar Babu said.
On October 1, 2003, Maoists triggered off a claymore mine blast near Alipiri when Naidu’s convoy was heading for Tirumala. Naidu suffered injuries in the blast.
“The trio who were on bail were taken into custody after the judgement. They pleaded for reduction of sentence saying they were surrendered Naxals,” Sudhakar Babu said.
Of the 33 accused in the case, 11 died during the trial while 15 are still absconding. Two accused were convicted earlier and two others were acquitted.
In Andhra Pradesh’s Chittoor district upheld the seven-year sentence awarded to two men for attempting to assassinate former Chief Minister N. Chandrababu Naidu.
The fourth district court of Chittoor, however, struck down the lower court’s order sentencing Maoist leader Panduranga Reddy alias Sagar and gelatin stick trader Gangi Reddy to seven-year jail due to lack of evidence against them .
The court upheld the seven-year sentence of the other two accused, Ramaswamy Reddy and Nagarjuna, both gelatin stick traders.
In October 2010, the additional senior civil judge sentenced all the four to seven years in prison, but they challenged the sentence in the higher court.
Naidu, then chief minister, his ministerial colleague B. Gopalakrishna Reddy and two legislators were injured as Maoists triggered a Claymore mine blast at Alipiri in 2003, when they were on their way to the famous Hindu temple at Tirupati to make offerings to the deity.
The convoy of Naidu had come under an attack, meticulously planned by Maoists. However, the TDP chief survived with minor injuries.
Though the prosecution named 33 persons as accused in the case, only four could be arrested. Some of the accused, including top Maoist leader and prime accused Patel Sudhakar Reddy, were killed in alleged gun battles with police while others remain as yet untraced.
Sudhakar Reddy, believed to be the mastermind behind the attack on Naidu, was killed by police in an exchange of fire in Warangal district in 2009.