SC to hear Ansal brothers’ petition in Uphaar fire tragedy case

November 14th, 2007 - 2:05 am ICT by admin  
Earlier, a bench headed by Justice H K Sema had posted the matter after counsel P P Rao, appearing for the accused, mentioned the matter for early hearing.

On September 21, the Delhi High Court had rejected their plea to file additional written submissions before the trial court.

Dismissing the plea, Justice S N Dhingra said, “There is no force in the petition.”

“I find no error and infirmity in the judgement of the trial court (which had rejected their plea for submission of additional documents), Justice Dhingra added,

Prime accused Gopal and Sushil Ansal, the owners of the cinema hall, and other three accused - Ajit Chaudhary, Nirmal Singh Chopra and R K Sharma (managers of the hall), in their petition alleged that “the trial court, from time to time, had raised certain queries and sought few clarifications during the course of final arguments. However, it did not hear petitioners’ counsel on those clarifications.”

Earlier, a Delhi court had postponed its verdict in the case till October 22, in which 59 people lost their lives during the screening of the Hindi film, “Border”.

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.

Among the other accused 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.

All the accused have been charged under Section 14 of the Cinematography Act.

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 the prime accused, Gopal and Sushil Ansal, owners of the cinema hall.

The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) had alleged that the accused were directly and criminally negligent in the management of the theatre.

Senior advocate Harish Salve 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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