Uphaar cinema tragedy: India's top court orders realtor Gopal Ansal to serve one year in jail
As many as 59 people, trapped in the balcony class of the theatre, had died due to asphyxia and more than 100 were injured in the subsequent stampede following a fire that broke out on June 13, 1997. Photograph: (AFP)
India's highest court, the Supreme Court, on Thursday sentenced real estate baron Gopal Ansal to a one-year jail term in connection with the Uphaar fire tragedy case.
A three-judge bench of the apex court, headed by Justice Ranjan Gogoi, and also comprising Justicers Kurian Joseph and Adarsh Kumar passed the order.
The review petitions of the Association of the Victims of Uphaar Tragedy (AVUT) and the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) were dismissed by the court.
Ansal will now serve a one-year jail sentence of which he had already served four months.
The CBI and the AVUT sought review of the apex court verdict, delivered on August 19, 2015, sending Ansal brothers to two years of jail term if they fail to pay 300 million Indian Rupees each within three months.
The convicts have already paid the fine.
As many as 59 people, trapped in the balcony of the theatre, had died due to asphyxia and more than 100 were injured in the subsequent stampede following a fire that broke out during the 3-6 pm screening of Hindi movie "Border" on June 13, 1997.
Neelam and Sekhar Krishnamoorthy, who lost their daughter Unnati and son Ujwal in the tragedy eighteen years ago, are fighting the case from lower courts to the India`s highest court for the justice to the victims.
The Krishnamurthys have sought more stringent punishment so that such incidents do not happen again.
The victims' body had also mentioned the review plea for urgent hearing before a bench headed by Chief Justice TS Thakur who said a new bench would be constituted to hear the review petitions filed by CBI and the association.
Prior to that, a bench headed by Justice AR Dave, now retired, had decided to hear in open court the petitions filed by CBI and AVUT seeking review of the 2015 verdict. Following the judgement, Sushil and Gopal Ansal had deposited 300 million Indian rupees each to avoid the jail term.