Plea for releasing Uphaar theatre denied urgent hearing

May 15th, 2009 - 8:59 pm ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, May 15 (IANS) The Supreme Court Friday refused to accord an urgent hearing to the real estate tycoon Ansal brothers’ plea for release of the Uphaar theatre, which had turned into an inferno in 1997, killing 59 people.
A bench of Justice S.B. Sinha and Justice Asok Ganguly refused to hear urgently the plea by Ansal Club Private Limited, the Ansal brothers’ firm owning the theatre in south Delhi, saying it would be heard later after the court’s seven-week summer vacation that begins Friday.

As the theatre is important for investigations, police had seized it immediately after the June 13, 1997 tragedy, triggered by the flouting of various safety provisions and structural changes in violation of regulations.

Amid their ongoing trial, the Ansal brothers had approached the Delhi High Court in 2003 for the release of the theatre. The high court on Sept 12, 2003 left it to the trial court judge to take a call after inspecting it and assessing how important it was to keep it under seizure.

The trial court judge inspected the theatre Aug 19, 2008, but deferred the decision.

Meanwhile, the trial court also completed its trial and pronounced the Ansal brothers and others guilty for their lapses leading to the tragedy.

The Ansals appealed against the verdict in the Delhi High Court and then the Supreme Court.

The apex court Friday told the Ansal brothers that it would hear the plea for release of the theatre along with their appeal against conviction and jail term.

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