New Delhi, Dec 3, 2021- A Delhi court on Friday dismissed the interim plea of real estate barons Sushil Ansal and Gopal Ansal seeking suspension of the seven-year jail terms awarded to them for tampering with evidence in the 1997 case of Uphaar cinema fire, which had claimed 59 lives.
Additional Sessions Judge Anil Antil said the appeal against the sentence will continue to be heard on merit on February 23. Plea to suspend sentence while appeal is pending dismissed, he said.
With the dismissal, all accused in the case will remain in jail.
Earlier, the judge had sought the response of the government and the Association of Victims of the Uphaar Tragedy (AVUT) in the matter after the Ansal brothers approached the court seeking the suspension of their sentence.
The court had on November 20 granted two days interim bail to former court staff Dinesh Chandra Sharma, one of the convicts in the evidence tampering case, on “humanitarian grounds” to attend the wedding of his niece.
On November 8, Chief Metropolitan Magistrate, Patiala House Court, Dr Pankaj Sharma, had sentenced Ansals to seven years imprisonment besides imposing a fine of Rs 2.25 crore on both in the case.
The court also awarded seven year jail terms each to former court staffers P.P. Batra, Anoop Singh, and Sharma while slapping them with a fine of Rs 3 lakh each.
Earlier, the Ansals were convicted and sentenced to two years in jail by the Supreme Court.
The brothers had escaped further jail terms after the court’s direction in 2015 to shell out Rs 60 crore in penalty. In February 2017, the top court had, through a 2:1 majority judgment, given relief to 78-year-old Sushil Ansal, citing his “advanced age-related complications” by awarding him the jail term which he had already served.
However, the court had asked his younger brother Gopal Ansal to serve the remaining one-year jail term.
On June 13, 1997, halfway through the screening of the Hindi war film “Border”, a fire broke out in the Uphaar cinema, located in Green Park in south Delhi, killing 59 people in one of the worst tragedies. (Agency)