Uphaar Case: Ansal Brothers to Be Prosecuted for Tampering Proof

For allegedly fiddling with evidence, the Delhi High Court has permitted prosecuting Ansal brothers in Uphaar fire tragedy case in which 59 viewers were killed and several others injured 12 years ago.

Justice S Murlidhar rejected the petition of Gopal and Sushil Ansal along with two others, who had challenged the trial court order which summoned them to appear before it in the case. In addition, a cost of Rs 25, 000 was imposed on them. In the case, Additional Sessions Judge Mamta Sehgal on January 31, 2003, had instructed a probe following disappearance of some documents relating to the case from court record room.

On June 25, 2004, one court staff, after the investigation, was dismissed by the district judge for tampering with the court records.

The Delhi High Court had ordered the police to register a case in this regard on May 5, 2006 and ordered it to complete the investigations within three months.

The police launched an FIR on May 17 and arrested the court staff Dinesh Chandra Sharma. It later filed chargesheet in the court in which Ansal brothers alongwith two others were made accused. Additional Chief Metropolitan Magistrate had issued summon to all the accused on February 15, 2008 after which Ansal brothers had approached the Delhi High Court which stayed the trial court proceedings on April 30, 2008.

At least 59 people died of asphyxia following a fire caused by sparking in a transformer installed in the basement of the cinema hall on June 13, 1999. Theatre owners Sushil and Gopal Ansal were sentenced to two years jail term by the trial court.

In December last year, the High Court modified the trial court order and reduced their sentence from two to one year jail term for the negligent act.

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