//Will Madhani get bail before Kerala elections?

Will Madhani get bail before Kerala elections?

By Sanu George, Thiruvananthapuram: The probability of Abdul Nasser Madhani, prime accused in the 1998 Coimbatore serial blasts, getting bail is a matter of intense speculation in Kerala political circles with the state poised for assembly elections in a few months.

Madhani, chairman of People’s Democratic Party, is incarcerated in Tamil Nadu’s Coimbatore Central Prison ever since the blasts, which killed many people and took place minutes before Bharatiya Janata Party leader L.K. Advani was to address an election meeting in Coimbatore.

The Kerala government has intimated to Tamil Nadu a year ago that there would be no problem if Madhani is given bail, Kerala Chief Minister Oommen Chandy told IANS.

"We have made it clear that if he is given bail there would be no problems. The issue of him being given bail is with the judiciary," said Chandy.

An application for parole was moved by Madhani in 2003 to attend the funeral of his grandmother in Kerala when A.K. Antony was heading the state government.

But the Kerala police had then told the Tamil Nadu government that if Madhani was brought to Kerala there could be serious law and order problems and he was denied parole.

The possibility of Madhani getting bail soon is a reason for cheer to the Congress-led United Democratic Front government than for the opposition Left Democratic Front (LDF).

Madhani was arrested when the LDF’s E.K. Nayanar led the government. This was listed as one of the achievements of the Nayanar regime.

The Chandy government expects to rope back a section of the Muslim community, who view Madhani as their leader, in case he is able to secure bail for Madhani.

"Is it true that Madhani would get bail shortly as the Kerala government has taken a positive stand for his release," a LDF legislator queried.

Muslims form Kerala’s second largest community constituting 24 percent of the 32 million population and could play a decisive role in the forthcoming polls likely to be held in May this year.