Sunday, December 10, 2023

Uphaar Fire tragedy case: Delhi High Court issues notice on Gopal Ansal plea seeking permission to travel to Bangkok

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The High Court of Delhi sought response from the State on a petition filed by real estate tycoon Gopal Ansal, who was convicted in an evidence tampering case related to the Uphaar cinema fire incident, which claimed 59 lives and injured many others on June 13, 1997.

The industrialist sought permission to travel to Bangkok from September 28 to October 3, as per his undertaking before the court earlier. 

Appearing for the State, Senior Advocate Dayan Krishnan submitted that he wanted to file a response to Ansal’s application.

Representing Ansal, Senior Advocate N. Hariharan vehemently opposed the request, contending that the petitioner has to travel on September 28 and filing of the response would make the appeal infructuous.

During the course of hearing, Senior Advocate Hariharan apprised the High Court after taking instructions from the petitioner that Ansal would reschedule his visit to Bangkok. 

He further apprised the Bench that an additional affidavit would be filed providing the rescheduled itinerary in the present plea.

The single-judge Bench of Justice Jyoti Singh allowed the appeal made by the State and listed the matter for further hearing on October 12.

Earlier on January 25, the High Court had issued notice to Gopal and his brother Sushil Ansal on a petition filed by the Delhi Police, challenging the reduction of sentence from seven years to eight months in the evidence tampering case.

The Single-Judge Bench of Justice Anup Bhambani further issued notice to the Association of Victims of Uphaar Tragedy (AVUT).

In November 2021, a trial court in Delhi had sentenced the Ansal brothers, former court staff Dinesh Chand Sharma, PP Batra and Anoop Singh to seven-year imprisonment each for their involvement in the fire tragedy.

Chief Metropolitan Magistrate (CMM) Pankaj Sharma had convicted Ansals and others under Sections 201 (tampering of evidence), 120B (criminal conspiracy) and 409 (criminal breach of trust by public servant) of the Indian Penal Code.

On July 18, 2022, the Principal District and Sessions Court, while upholding the conviction,  released both Sushil and Gopal Ansal against the period already undergone by them in jail.

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