Uphaar fire tragedy: SC convicts Gopal, lets off ‘aged’ Sushil Ansal

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Ansals1The Supreme Court on February 9 convicted Gopal Ansal, owner of Uphaar Cinema in New Delhi, to one-year imprisonment in the fire tragedy case. He was given four weeks to surrender.

Since Gopal had previously served four months of his four-year sentence—it was later commuted—so now he will serve six months.

Sushil Ansal’s sentence was reduced to time already undergone in view of his advanced age. The court refused to review its earlier order of letting off Sushil with a period already undergone in jail.

Each brother was fined Rs 30 crore and the court said the amount will be used to set up a Trauma Centre. In its earlier order, the SC had let off the Ansals with jail-time undergone previously and Rs 30 crore as fine. Sushil Ansal was given lenient sentence due to age-related ailments while his brother Gopal was not as progressed in age and neither did he have ailments.

Delving on its earlier judgment in 2015, the bench hearing the case observed that the punishment must also be commensurate with the public interest.

Around 59 people died and 100 injured in the fire tragedy two decades ago. The verdict created an uproar as Ansal brothers had individually undergone just five to six months imprisonment each.

Association of Victims’ of Uphaar Tragedy led by Neelam Krishnamoorthy said she was disappointed with the verdict. Coming to the court was my biggest mistake. “Lost faith in the judiciary, we have been let down very badly.”