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Uphaar Fire Tragedy: Sushil & Gopal Ansal Challenge 7 Yr Sentence In Evidence Tampering Case; Notice Issued

Nupur Thapliyal
10 Nov 2021 12:34 PM GMT
Uphaar Fire Tragedy: Sushil & Gopal Ansal Challenge 7 Yr Sentence In Evidence Tampering Case; Notice Issued
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A Delhi Court on Wednesday issued notice on the appeals filed by real estate barons Sushil Ansal and Gopal Ansal challenging their sentence in the evidence tampering case in connection with the Uphaar fire tragedy that happened in the year 1997. Along with Ansals, notice has also been issued on the appeal filed by PP Batra.Additional Sessions Judge Anil Antil was hearing the appeals challenging...

A Delhi Court on Wednesday issued notice on the appeals filed by real estate barons Sushil Ansal and Gopal Ansal challenging their sentence in the evidence tampering case in connection with the Uphaar fire tragedy that happened in the year 1997. Along with Ansals, notice has also been issued on the appeal filed by PP Batra.

Additional Sessions Judge Anil Antil was hearing the appeals challenging a Chief Metropolitan Magistrate's order by way of which the Ansals were sentenced to 7 years of simple imprisonment alongwith fine of Rs. 2.25 crores each.

The matter is now listed for further hearing on November 15.

On Monday, CMM Pankaj Sharma had passed the order on sentencing after the Ansals and others were convicted under Sections 201 (tampering of evidence), 120B (criminal conspiracy) and 409 (criminal breach of trust by public servant) of the Indian Penal Code on October 8.

The Court also held a former court staff and other individuals guilty in the matter. It also imposed a fine of Rs. 3 lacs each on others namely Dinesh Chandra Sharma, Prem Prakash Batra and Anoop Singh.

In its order, the Court was of the view that the documents which were tampered with by the accused persons formed the basis of their conviction in the main Uphaar case. It was of the view that those documents were "most critical" for the trial in order to establish their role and position.

"The accused persons were conveniently taking advantage of the missing documents during the trial of main Uphaar case as they challenged the motion of secondary evidence by the prosecution and in their statement under section 313 CrP.C refused to admit those documents on the premise that they were marked documents," the Court had said.

"So much so when the said documents were exhibited by the Court following the due procedure they challenged the said order. These facts taken in totality show that how important was these documents which were effaced from the record to secure their acquittal and put a stumbling block in the trial by preventing the Court in rendering judgment," it had added.

The Court had said that the manner in which process of law was subjected to desecration by accused persons is no less than defiling the justice administration system.

"The high handedness of the accused persons for securing benefit in the trial sans documents by any means demonstrate the scant regard which they have for the justice delivery system which is the bedrock of our democracy. The brazen attitude of the accused persons is reflective from their conduct as after destruction of evidence they vehemently opposed the prosecution plea for adducing secondary evidence. They left no stone unturned to prevent advent of secondary evidence," the Court had said.

The matter pertains to the tampering of evidence in connection with the fire tragedy case wherein the Ansals were convicted and sentenced by the Supreme Court.

As many as 59 people died and 100 were injured in the fire during the screening of Hindi blockbuster Border on the evening of June 13, 1997.

The fire started in the parking lot and then engulfed the building in the busy Green Park area.

Most people died in the ensuing stampede or were asphyxiated as the escape routes were blocked by illegally fixed chairs. The trial court had sentenced the duo to two years' rigorous imprisonment in November 2007.

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