Uphaar fire tragedy: 2 years imprisonment for Ansal brothers (Lead-Uphaar Tragedy Verdict)

November 23rd, 2007 - 9:10 pm ICT by admin  

New Delhi, Nov 23 (ANI): A Delhi Sessions Court today awarded the owners of Uphaar Cinema hall, Gopal and Sushil Ansal, with two years of imprisonment in connection with the 1997 cinema hall fire tragedy that left 59 people dead and over hundred people injured.
Each of the convicted brothers were fined rupees 5,000 and given bail on an additional rupees 25,000 bond.
Seven other convicts in the case have been given seven years of imprisonment, and remaining three of the twelve convicts have been given two years of imprisonment.
All the convicts have been fined rupees 5,000.
The Central Bureau of Investigation’s (CBI) counsel Y K Saxena and the counsel arguing on behalf of the victims’ families, Vikas Pahwa, had sought maximum punishment for all the 12 accused in the case.
The Association of Victims of Uphaar Tragedy (AVUT) has also filed a written submission on point of sentencing seeking maximum punishment for the guilty.
Today’s announcement of quantum of punishment by the court has miffed the family members of the victims.
“We’ll challenge the order in the High Court. We want that people responsible for the death of 59 persons should be given stricter punishment. Two years is not enough for such people. We are not happy with the verdict,” said Neelam Krishnamurti, President, Association of Victims of Uphaar Tragedy (AVUT).
The court on Monday declared Ansal brothers 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.
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 CBI, on the other hand 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.
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 CBI had filed a chargesheet on November 15, 1997, and the court admitted it on January 19, 1998.
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.
The tragedy took place on June 13, 1997 during the screening of the Hindi film, “Border.”
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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