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Uphaar Fire Tragedy: SC Orders Theatre Owner Gopal Ansal to Serve One Year Jail Term

A TV grab of the cinema hall

A TV grab of the cinema hall

After a lengthy trial, brothers Sushil and Gopal Ansal were found guilty of "causing death by negligent" charge. A Delhi trial court awarded them two years' rigorous imprisonment in November 2007.

Ashok Bagriya
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New Delhi: Supreme Court has sentenced real estate baron Gopal Ansal to a one-year jail term over the 1997 Delhi Upahaar fire tragedy in a major victory for kin of victims.

Gopal had already spent four months in jail and will now have to serve out the remaining part of the sentence.

The court also directed Gopal Ansal to surrender within four weeks to serve the remaining jail term.

While giving relief to Sushil Ansal and awarding him a jail term for a period already undergone by him, the Supreme Court said that the fine of Rs 30 crore each imposed on Sushil and Gopal Ansal by the apex court was not excessive.

In August 2015, the Supreme Court had imposed a fine of Rs 60 crore on Ansal brothers in connection with the Uphaar cinema fire tragedy case. The Ansal brothers were, however, not given any jail term.

As many as 59 people had lost their lives on June 13, 1997, when a fire was sparked by a faulty transformer during the screening of film Border at the Uphaar theatre. It led to mayhem and stampede, causing the loss of lives.

After a lengthy trial, brothers Sushil and Gopal Ansal were found guilty of "causing death by negligent" charge. A Delhi trial court awarded them two years' rigorous imprisonment in November 2007.

In December 2008, the Delhi High Court reduced the duo's sentences from two years to one year and they were granted bail by the Supreme Court on January 30, 2009.

On March 5, 2014, the Supreme Court had upheld the conviction of Ansal brothers, referring the matter for the quantum of sentence to a three-judge bench due to the difference of opinion.

Reacting to the judgement a disappointed Neelam Krishnamoorthy, convenor of the Association of the Victims of Uphaar Tragedy (AVUT) said that the SC verdict shows that the rich have special rights, can walk away by killing children and then paying for trauma centre.

"If this is how a judgement is passed then there is no point coming to courts," Krishnamoorty added.



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