Ansals challenge summons issued for tampering of evidence

April 24th, 2008 - 9:59 pm ICT by admin  

New Delhi, April 24 (IANS) The Ansal brothers, owners of the Uphaar cinema theatre, challenged in Delhi High Court Thursday summons issued by a lower court for allegedly tampering with, removing and mutilating important documents related to the 1997 Uphaar cinema fire tragedy which claimed 59 lives. Admitting the petition of real estate tycoons Gopal and Sushil Ansal, Justice S.L.Bhayana issued notice to the Economic Offences Wing (EOW) of Delhi Police to file a reply on May 22.

A city court had in February issued notice to the Ansals to appear before it May 2 explaining the charges levelled against them by the EOW. On Jan 19, the EOW filed a supplementary charge-sheet against the Ansals and H.S. Panwar, a former Delhi Fire Service employee, Prem Prakash Batra, an employee of the cinema hall owners and D.V. Malhotra and Anoop Singh, employed with a security agency that was hired by the Ansals.

The charge-sheet was filed under the Indian Penal Code Sections 120-B (criminal conspiracy), 201 (causing disappearance of evidence or giving false information to screen offenders) and 409 (criminal breach of trust).

The economic offences wing has already charge-sheeted Dinesh Chandra Sharma, a clerk in the court of Additional Sessions Judge Mamta Sehgal, for removing and tampering with papers related to the case in collusion with the Ansals.

The judge had last year convicted the two Ansal brothers and three others in the June 13, 1997, fire tragedy.

The charge sheet was prima facie made out against the Ansals on the ground that Prem Prakash Batra had got clerk Sharma a job after his dismissal from court service at twice the normal salary in A-Plus Security Agency. The agency also provides security services to a company under the control of the Ansals, the charge-sheet said.

Sushil Ansal also provided a job to Panwar in his company Sushant Estate after Panwar’s retirement. Panwar is one of those convicted by the court.

“Evidence has come on record to prove that accused Panwar has committed serious acts of commission and omission during his service by rendering services to the Ansals,” the charge-sheet said.

The economic offences wing had registered the case in 2006 on the direction of the Delhi High Court following a petition by the Association of the Victims of Uphaar Tragedy convener Neelam Krishnamurthy.

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