The Delhi High Court speaking through Justice Siddharth Mridul has dismissed a review petition filed by real estate barons Sushil Ansal and Gopal Ansal in the unfortunate 1997 Uphaar cinema fire tragedy, in which 59 people had lost their lives after a fire broke out during the show of a Bollywood movie. The single judge bench upheld the trial court’s order charging the duo – owners of the Uphaar cinema hall – with tampering of evidence in the case. It also said there was enough material before the trial court to justify the charges.
"In the present case, the offences alleged to have been committed by the accused as well as their role in the crime alleged to have been committed, has been clearly spelt out in the impugned order.
In view of the foregoing, the submission of the revisionists that the impugned order is unsustainable in law, inasmuch as, the same is rendered without compliance to the relevant provisions of the CrPC, is merit less and thus, rejected.
“The material gives rise to strong suspicion that the accused committed the offence for which charges were rightly framed,” Justice Siddharth Mridul said, adding that the trial court will continue to frame charges against the Ansals.
On February 9, the Supreme Court in the curative petition had sentenced Gopal Ansal to jail for a year in connection with the blaze. However, the bench had spared 77-year-old Sushil Ansal because of his age. It had also upheld the fine of Rs 30 crore each imposed on the duo and had said the money should be utilised to set up up a trauma centre.
Following this, Gopal Ansal had approached the Supreme Court seeking modification of its order on the grounds of parity, saying he was 69 years old and would suffer irreparable damage to his health if sent to prison which was dismissed and Gopal Ansal surrendered before Tihar Jail authorities on March 20.
Read the Judgment here.