Delhi court to pronounce quantum of sentence in Uphaar case todayNovember 23rd, 2007 - 11:41 am ICT by admin
New Delhi, Nov 23 (ANI): A Delhi Sessions Court will pronounce the quantum of sentence for 12 convicts in connection with the 1997 Uphaar Cinema Hall blaze case at 3.00 p.m. today.
The Central Bureau of Investigation’s (CBI) counsel Y K Saxena and the counsel arguing on behalf of the victims’ families, Vikas Pahwa, have sought maximum punishment for all the 12 accused in the case.
The Association of Victims of Uphaar Tragedy (AVUT) also filed a written submission on point of sentencing seeking maximum punishment for the guilty.
The court on Monday declared Gopal and Sushil Ansal, the owners of the cinema hall, guilty of criminal negligence in the case. 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.
They both can be sentenced to a maximum imprisonment of two years along with a fine.
However, the defence sought for mercy and probation. Gopal Ansal’s counsel sought leniency for his client, saying his client had no direct role in the incident.
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.
Shyam Sunder and Tiwari (both Municipal Corporation of Delhi officials), and Delhi Fire Service officer Panwar can face a punishment of a maximum of two years.
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 verdict came 10 years after the tragedy in which 59 people lost their lives during the screening of the Hindi film, “Border”.
The CBI had filed a chargesheet on November 15, 1997, and the court admitted it on January 19, 1998.
The 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)