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Uphaar: Ansals get 7-year jail for proof-tampering

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New Delhi, November 8

Twenty four years after 59 persons lost their lives in a fire tragedy at Uphaar Cinema in the national capital, a Delhi court on Monday sentenced its owners Ansal brothers — Sushil and Gopal — and three other accused to seven years’ imprisonment for tampering with evidence in the case.

“A too lenient sentence

will be akin to closing the eyes to the agony and anguish of the victim and the public at large. Collective cry of the society must be responded by way of appropriate punishment to prevent re-occurrence of such crimes,” said Chief Metropolitan Magistrate (CMM) Pankaj Sharma, who also imposed a fine of Rs 2.25 crore each on the Ansal brothers.

The three others sentenced to seven-year imprisonment were former court staff Dinesh Chand Sharma and private individuals PP Batra and Anoop Singh Karayat. They were fined Rs 3 lakh each.

The court ordered that all the convicts be immediately taken into custody and sent to jail to serve the sentence.

Noting that no amount of compensation could alleviate the agony, trauma and the pain suffered by the victims’ families, the CMM ordered that the amount collected from the convicts be paid as compensation to the victims’ families as it “can provide some succour to them”.

Sharma had on October 8 convicted the real estate barons and the three others for tampering with evidence in the 1997 Uphaar cinema fire case in which 59 persons were killed during the screening of Bollywood blockbuster ‘Border’ on June 13, 1997.

The Supreme Court had in 2015 held Ansal brothers guilty of culpable homicide not amounting to murder and sentenced to the period already served and fined Rs 30 crore each. Later, it reviewed its decision and sent Gopal back to jail for a year. But Sushil was spared due to his old age. Two other accused—Har Swaroop Panwar and Dharamvir Malhotra—died during the protracted trial. — TNS

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