Allegations against me were personal: Amod Kanth

April 17th, 2009 - 8:54 pm ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, April 17 (IANS) Amod Kanth, a former Delhi police official who was Friday given a clean chit by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) in the Uphaar fire tragedy of 1997, said the allegations against him were “personal” and had no basis.
“There is nothing at all against me. All the allegations are of very personal nature against me and have no basis,” Kanth, who retired as joint commissioner of police, told IANS.

“I was deputy commissioner of police (DCP licensing) way back in 1979 and was not on that position at the time of the tragic Uphaar fire incident, so how can I be responsible for the incident that happened after 17 years of me quitting the post,” Kanth added.

On June 13, 1997, 59 people, including women and children, were killed in a devastating fire that broke out in the south Delhi cinema hall during the screening of the Hindi film “Border”.

Kanth, who stood for the Delhi assembly elections in 2008 and lost, quit the police force over a year ago.

The Association of the Victims of Uphaar Tragedy (AVUT) had sought the prosecution of Kanth, who allegedly allowed more seats than legally permissible in the theatre.

“During my tenure I had removed all excess seats from the 80 percent of the cinema halls and mere 20 percent were left and Uphaar was one of them. So nothing was intentional on my part,” Kanth said.

“I just cannot understand how is it possible that after 17 years of me quitting the post if any incident happens I will be held liable for that,” Kanth added.

Filing its investigation report in a city court, the CBI said no criminal acts were found against any of the officials of any department other than the 16 people chargesheeted by it in the Uphaar fire tragedy case.

District and Sessions Judge I.K. Kochhar fixed the matter for consideration for May 13.

The trial court had on Nov 28, 2007 directed the CBI to investigate the role of Kanth who had allegedly allowed Uphaar theatre owners Sushil and Gopal Ansal to retain 37 extra seats in the balcony which had led to the closure of an exit gate.

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