Uphaar Cinema case verdict todayNovember 20th, 2007 - 11:18 am ICT by admin
New Delhi, Nov 20 (ANI): A Delhi court will today pronounce its verdict in connection with the 1997 Uphaar Cinema fire tragedy case, in which 59 people lost their lives during the screening of the Hindi film, “Border”.
Besides prime accused Gopal and Sushil Ansal, the owners of the cinema hall, there are 12 accused in the case, in which 59 people lost their lives during the screening of the Hindi film, “Border”.
Ansals, who were not allowed to file their written arguments earlier in the case, had got a reprieve from Supreme Court which recently directed the trial court to take their submissions on record.
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.
The court had rejected the plea of Gera and Satija, both former Delhi Vidyut Board (DVB) employees, to file written arguments in reply to the submissions brought on record by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI).
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 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)