A Ghaziabad Court on Monday sentenced terror convict Waliullah Khan to death for serial blasts in Varanasi that killed at least 20 people 16 years back.

District Sessions Judge Jitendra Kumar Sinha convicted Khan on Saturday but had held back the pronouncement on the quantum of punishment for the blasts in 2006 at Varanasi's Sankat Mochan Hanuman temple and a railway station.

On Monday, Khan was brought to the district court from Dasna Jail under tight security, overseen by a deputy superintendent of police.

The Court also sentenced Khan to life imprisonment on an attempt to murder charge and ordered him to pay fines. The death sentence will have to be confirmed by the Allahabad High Court.

A special task force had claimed in 2006 that Khan was linked to Bangladesh-based terror outfit Harkat-ul-Jehad al-Islami and was the mastermind behind the blasts.

The first blast took place at 6.15 pm on March 7, 2006 inside the crowded Sankat Mochan temple in the Lanka police station area. After 15 minutes, a bomb exploded outside the first-class retiring room at Varanasi Cantonment railway station.

At least 20 people were killed and about 100 injured in the two explosions.

The same day, a pressure cooker bomb was also found near the railings of a railway crossing in Dashashwamedh police station area.

Khan was convicted in two cases lodged under the Indian Penal Code sections of murder and attempt to murder, and under the Explosives Act, district government counsel Rajesh Sharma earlier told PTI.

He was acquitted in a third case due to lack of evidence, he said.

Lawyers in Varanasi had refused to plead the case and the Allahabad High Court transferred it to the Ghaziabad District Court.

In all three cases, 121 witnesses were produced before the court.

With PTI inputs