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Uphaar Cinema case: Delhi High Court rejects Ansals’ plea to quash sentence

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The Delhi High Court Wednesday declined to suspend the seven-year jail sentence handed to real estate barons Sushil and Gopal Ansal for tampering evidence in the case connected to the Uphaar cinema fire, which killed 59 people in June, 1997.

The Single-Judge Bench of Justice Subramonium Prasad said the court has rejected the applications of the Ansal brothers. Meanwhile, the court allowed the application for the suspension of sentence of another convict Anoop Singh Karayat.

On November 8 last year, a lower court had sentenced Sushil Ansal, Gopal Ansal, former court staff Dinesh Chand Sharma, P.P. Batra and Anoop Singh Karayat to seven years in prison for tampering with evidence in the case.

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They were convicted under Sections 201 (tampering of evidence), 120B (punishment of criminal conspiracy) and 409 (criminal breach of trust by a public servant) of the Indian Penal Code (IPC).

While dismissing the Ansals’ plea for suspension of sentence till the appeal against the conviction by magisterial court is decided, the sessions court had said that the case was one of the gravest of its kind and the offence appeared to be the outcome of a calculated design on the part of the convicts to interfere with the course of justice.

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The Ansal brothers had sought suspension of sentence on several grounds including their old age.

The plea was opposed by the Delhi Police and the Association of the Victims of Uphaar Tragedy (AVUT).

The tampering was detected for the first time on July 20, 2002, and when it was unearthed, a departmental enquiry was initiated against Sharma and he was suspended.

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