Ansals, 10 others found guilty in 1997 Uphaar Cinema fire case

November 20th, 2007 - 2:08 pm ICT by admin  

New Delhi, Nov 20 (ANI): A Delhi Sessions Court today declared Gopal and Sushil Ansal guilty of criminal negligence in connection with the 1997 Uphaar Cinema Hall blaze case.
The verdict came 10 years after the tragedy in which 59 people lost their lives during the screening of the Hindi film, “Border”.
Both have been convicted under Section 304A of Indian Penal Code for causing death of a person/persons by rash or negligent act not amounting to culpable homicide.
The court also convicted 10 other accused in the case. They are R. K. Sharma, Ajit Chaudhary, N. S. Chopra, Manmohan Uniyal, Shyam Sunder Sharma, N. D. Tiwari, Hanswaroop Panwar, B. M. Satija, A. K. Gera and Beer Singh.
Sentencing for all accused, who have been held guilty for flouting rules to maximize profits, will be pronounced tomorrow.
Four accused - - R. M. Puri, K. L. Malhotra (both senior employees of hall), S. N. Dandona (Executive Engineer of the Public Works Department) and Delhi Fire Services officer Surender Dutt - - have died during the trial.
The CBI had filed a chargesheet on November 15, 1997, and the court admitted it on January 19, 1998.
The Association of the Victims of Uphaar Tragedy (AVUT) had lodged an FIR alleging death due to negligence against Gopal and Sushil Ansal.
The CBI had alleged that the accused were directly and criminally negligent in the management of the theatre.
Senior advocate Harish Salve had contended that owners of the cinema hall were liable for penal action.
During the 10-year-old trial, the CBI had examined 115 witnesses. Among them, eight witnesses, termed as relatives of Ansals, have already turned hostile.
Fifty-nine people were choked to death, while 109 survived with injuries after the Uphaar Cinema caught fire leading to a stampede on June 13, 1997.
The theatre was engulfed when an overheated generator burst in the basement of the building. Men, women and children all scampered to rush out of the four cinema hall exits. (ANI)

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