Stay in jail, apex court tells Ansals

NEW DELHI - The Supreme Court Thursday refused to review and set aside its Sep 10 order that cancelled the Ansal brothers’ bail and ordered jail for the real estate tycoons’ lapses leading to the 1997 Uphaar theatre fire tragedy here.

A bench of Justice B.N. Agrawal and Justice G.S. Singhvi refused to set aside its order, dismissing the review petitions of Gopal Ansal and Sushil Ansal in an in-camera hearing.

The Ansals had approached the court for review of the order even as their appeal challenging their conviction and one-year jail sentence given by the Delhi High Court Dec 19, 2008, is pending with the apex court and slated for hearing Jan 23.

The two brothers are in Tihar Jail since Sep 11, a day after the Supreme Court cancelled their bail in a case of destruction of documentary evidence related to their trial.

As many as 59 people had died and over 100 others were injured as the south Delhi cinema house caught fire while a film show was on.

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. But it had suspended their sentence to enable them move the high court to challenge their conviction.

The high court had allowed them to be out on bail till disposal of their pleas against conviction.

But on a joint plea by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI), which conducted the trial of Ansals and others, and the Association of the Victims of Uphaar Tragedy (AVUT), the Supreme Court Sep 10 cancelled their bail and ordered them to surrender the next day.

With the Ansals in jail, the high court later heard their pleas expeditiously and on Dec 19 ratified their conviction, but reduced their jail term to one year.


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