High court releases Ansal brothers’ passports

May 19th, 2008 - 7:50 pm ICT by admin  

New Delhi, May 19 (IANS) The Delhi High Court Monday released the passports of real estate tycoons Sushil and Gopal Ansal convicted for the Uphaar Cinema fire tragedy which claimed 59 lives. A division bench of Justices H.R. Malhotra and Sunil Gaur released the passports of the brothers on the condition that they would inform the registrar general of the court before going abroad and if the trip lasts for more than one month, they will seek the permission from the concerned court.

The court April 8 had reserved its order on the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI)’s plea seeking imposition of fresh conditions for the release of the passports.

Additional Solicitor General P.P. Malhotra, arguing on behalf of the agency, said the court cannot release the passports as an appeal by the Ansals challenging their sentence is pending in the court.

Senior counsel Ram Jethmalani, appearing for the Ansals, told the court that his clients have gone abroad several times in the past and had returned during the course of the trial.

The court also granted bail to N.S. Chopra and Ajit Chaudhary (managers of the Uphaar Cinema) on personal bonds of Rs.25,000 each.

However, the court rejected the bail pleas of Manmohan Uniyal (cinema hall gatekeeper), Brij Mohan Satija, A.K. Gera and Bir Singh (all Delhi Vidyut Board officials) held guilty of culpable homicide not amounting to murder and sentenced to seven years imprisonment.

A devastating fire June 13, 1997 at the Uphaar Cinema, owned by the Ansals, left 59 people dead during the screening of Hindi film “Border”.

In December last year, the Ansal brothers and 10 others, including their employees, were convicted by a trial court for causing death due to negligence. Ansals are currently out on bail.

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