SC Grants Partial Relief to Ansals in Uphaar Case
New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Thursday remitted the jail term of Sushil Ansal in the 1997 Uphaar theatre tragedy case citing his age, but sent younger brother Gopal Ansal back to the prison to complete the remaining part of his one- year term.
The brothers had spent about fiveand-a-half months each in jail and that period would be set off against the one-year term in Gopal Ansal’s case. They have already deposited .₹ 30 crore each, as ordered by the court. The money will go towards building a trauma centre at Dwarka in Delhi for victims of fire accidents.
Nearly five dozen people had died in the fire in the theatre, blamed on the negligence of the owners, the Ansals. The trial court sentenced them each to two years in jail on the charge of causing death by negligence, but the Delhi High Court reduced that to one year each.
On appeal, a two-judge bench of the SC came out with a split verdict on the quantum of sentence. A three-judge bench eventually reduced the sentence to the period already undergone by the brothers.
This created a furore with both the CBI and the victims’ association seeking a review of the ruling and a higher jail term for the accused. On reviewing their earlier de- cision on Thursday, SC upheld the .₹ 30 crore fine imposed on each of them as “not excessive” but only changed its mind on the sentence for Gopal Ansal.
“The gravity of the offence and the illegal gains made by them is such that no fine would be excessive for the irreparable loss caused due to them,” the three-judge bench said in its 2:1 ruling.
“No fine would be excessive for the irreparable loss caused due to them”