Friday, March 31, 2023

Uphaar Cinema fire: Delhi Court waives off remaining sentence of Ansal brothers

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A Delhi Court on Tuesday waived off the remaining sentence of real estate tycoons Sushil Ansal and Gopal Ansal, who were arrested in a case of tampering with evidence, related to the 1997 Uphaar cinema fire, which had claimed 59 lives and left several injured.

The Sessions Court cited old age of the convicts as the reason for waiving off their remaining sentence.

The Ansal brothers were earlier convicted by the Chief Metropolitan Magistrate for tampering with evidence related to the fire incident at Uphaar Cinema in 1997 and sentenced them to seven years in prison.

After the verdict of the Patiala House Court today, victims of the Uphaar cinema fire tragedy of 1997, including Chairperson of the Association of Victims of Uphaar Tragedy (AVUT), Neelam Krishnamurthy, cried in the courtroom and described the decision as disappointing.

Yesterday, District Judge Dharmesh Sharma had dismissed a similar appeal made by the Ansal brothers.

Senior Advocate Vikas Pahwa had yesterday, while representing AVUT, had said that a total of 20,000 pages and nine handpicked ‘critical’ documents relating to Sushil Ansal, Gopal Ansal and HS Panwar were identified and were either mutilated, destroyed, obliterated or completely removed from the record.

Ansal brothers were also convicted and sentenced to two years in jail by the Supreme Court in the case.

However, the Apex Court had released them on the period already undergone in jail on the condition that they paid Rs 30 crore fine each to be used for building a trauma centre in the national capital.

Along with the Ansal brothers, the Supreme Court had also held two of their employees – P P Batra and Anoop Singh, besides former court staff Dinesh Chand Sharma, as guilty in the case.

AVUT chairperson Neelam Krishnamoorthy had filed a petition in the Delhi High Court, following which, the High Court ordered to lodge a case and probe the matter.

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