Uphaar case: CBI clean chit to former cop Amod Kanth (Lead)

April 17th, 2009 - 7:32 pm ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, April 17 (IANS) The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) Friday gave a clean chit to former Delhi top cop Amod Kanth, who was accused of negligence in the Uphaar fire tragedy of 1997 when a cinema theatre here caught fire, claiming 59 lives.
The move comes as a setback to the Association of the Victims of Uphaar Tragedy (AVUT). AVUT had sought the prosecution of Kanth, who as deputy commissioner of police (DCP licensing), allegedly allowed more seats than legally permissible in the theatre.

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.

“The due duty was not discharged even by the DCP (licensing),” the trial court had observed while awarding varying jail terms to 12 accused, including theatre owners and real estate barons Sushil and Gopal Ansal.

“Before parting with the case, I consider it my solemn duty so that such events are not repeated in any high rise building or public place, and direct that there should be further investigations vis-a-vis the persons who have been left out by the CBI in the earlier investigation,” the judge had said.

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

In his defence, Kanth, who was the DCP licensing in 1979-80, said he had ensured the cancellation of a Lt Governor’s order allowing a 10 percent increase of seats in the 50 theatres of the capital.

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

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