Ansals move Supreme Court against Uphaar tragedy conviction

NEW DELHI - The Supreme Court Tuesday promised to hear Jan 23 the real estate tycoons Ansal brothers’ plea challenging their conviction and jail term for their lapses leading to the June 1997 Uphaar theatre fire tragedy here.

A bench of Chief Justice K.G. Balakrishnan and Justice P. Sathasivam promised to hear the pleas of Gopal Ansal and Sushil Ansal after senior counsel Ram Jethmalani apprised it of the petitions pending with the court registry.

Jethmalani sought urgent hearing saying the two brothers, ’senior citizens by age and not in the best of their health’, were lodged in Tihar Jail since Sep 11.

On Sep 10, the Supreme Court had ordered jail for them, canceling their bail in a case of destruction of documentary evidence related to their trial for their murderous lapses in the tragedy, in which 59 people had died and over 100 were injured in the cinema in south Delhi.

In the main case related to the fire tragedy, the trial court had convicted them and accorded two-year jail term on Nov 20, 2007 for their lapses that led to the fire.

The trial court had suspended their jail sentence to enable them to move the Delhi High Court to challenge conviction.

The high court, while subsequently entertaining their appeals, had allowed them bail till disposal of their pleas against conviction.

But on a joint plea by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI), which had convicted the Ansals and others, and the Association of the Victims of Uphaar Tragedy (AVUT), the Supreme Court had canceled their bail and ordered them to surrender the following day.

The Delhi High Court later heard their pleas expeditiously and on Dec 19 ratified their convictuion. It, however, reduced their jail term from two years to one year.


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