A special court on in Chennai Friday sentenced seven men to five years of imprisonment on charges of hatching a criminal conspiracy and manufacturing and possessing explosive substances in Kodungaiyur in Tamil Nadu in 1997. The convicts have been sentenced to five years imprisonment for each of the four charges against them and will have to serve the sentences concurrently.

Investigators from the Crime Branch-Criminal Investigation Department told the Special Court for bomb blast cases that nine men had plotted to attack the Hindutva leaders as part of their plan to avenge the murder of one of their own. They said the group had worked on the plan between December 1996 and March 1997.

The conspiracy was hatched to attack leaders of the Bharatiya Janata Party, Hindu Munnani and Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh, according to The Hindu.

Judge P Senthoorpandi acquitted two of the accused. The main conspirator Mohammed Khan alias Sirajudeen was among those sentenced to rigorous imprisonment.

Special Public Prosecutor N Vijayaraj said their crimes could have attracted life sentences if they were committed post 2000. “Since this case was filed in 1997, the sentences were consistent with the punishment pertaining to that period,” he told PTI.