Uphaar cinema tragedy: SC orders Gopal Ansal to one year in Jail, spares Sushil over old age

The Supreme Court on February 9 sentenced real estate baron Gopal Ansal to one year’s imprisonment in connection with his role in Uphaar fire tragedy.

Sushil Aansal, the other accused in the case was let off due to his old age. Gopal Ansal has also served four months in jail now he only have to be in prison for 8 months.

Stating that the duo are guilty of causing death due to negligence, the apex court ruled that one of them must go to jail within four weeks.

The bench comprising justices Ranjan Gogoi, Kurian Joseph and Adarsh Kumar Goel ordered Gopal to surrender within four weeks.

The apex court’s on February 9 gave the  verdict which it reserved on December 14 last year on  pleas of CBI and the victims’ body (AVUT) seeking review of the 2015 verdict in the Uphaar fire tragedy case asking Ansal brothers to serve a two-year jail term if they fail to pay Rs 30 crore each as fine.

Expressing disappointment at the verdict, Association of the Victims of Uphaar Tragedy (AVUT) representative Neelam Krishanmurati said,” It was the biggest mistake of my life coming to court. I have lost faith in judiciary.”

” Have been let down very badly,a futile exercise. Rich and powerful enjoy special powers.” she added.

59 people had died of asphyxia when a fire broke out during the screening of Bollywood movie ‘Border’ in Uphaar theatre in Green Park area of South Delhi on June 13, 1997. Over 100 were also injured in the subsequent stampede.

After the August  2015 judgement, Sushil and Gopal Ansal had deposited Rs 30 crore each to avoid the jail term.

In its review plea, AVUT had said the apex court judgement “bestows an unwarranted leniency on convicts whose conviction in the most heinous of offences has been upheld by all courts including this court and sentences imposed on them have been substituted with fine without assigning any reason”.

“The sentences of the convicts have been reduced to the period undergone without taking into account the gravity of their offence,” it had said.

CBI, in its review plea, had said the apex court did not give it time to put its views forth which resulted in “miscarriage of justice”.

The agency has said, “Due to the paucity of time on the day on which this case was heard, the prosecution could not adequately put across the reasons why this court should not substitute jail sentence with a monetary fine.