Uphaar case: Kanth’s plea re­jected

Hindustan Times (Patna) - - NATION - Press Trust of In­dia

NEW DELHI: A Delhi court on Satur­day dis­missed former IPS of­fi­cer Amod Kanth's plea to drop pro­ceed­ings on fram­ing of charges against him in the 1997 Uphaar fire tragedy case, say­ing the ac­cused has “no right to be heard at this stage”.

Ad­di­tional Chief Met­ro­pol­i­tan Mag­is­trate Lokesh Ku­mar Sharma said ju­di­cial pro­ceed­ings can­not be dropped at the be­hest of the ac­cused at the point of fram­ing charges.

The court passed the or­der while hear­ing the case against Kanth, who has been booked un­der sec­tion 304A (caus­ing death by rash and neg­li­gent act), 337 (caus­ing hurt by an act which en­dan­gers hu­man life) and 338(caus­ing griev­ous hurt by an act which en­dan­gers hu­man life) of IPC and un­der the Cine­matog­ra­phy Act.

The court fixed Fe­bru­ary 2, 2013, to hear fur­ther ar­gu­ments on fram­ing charges.

On June 13, 1997, 59 peo­ple died and over 100 oth­ers were in­jured in the ill-fated Uphaar cin­ema hall dur­ing the maiden screen­ing of Hindi block­buster 'Bor­der' af­ter a fire broke out.

The former po­lice­man had filed the plea through his coun­sel Di­nesh Goyal say­ing that he was not given the op­por­tu­nity to ar­gue in the mat­ter while the CBI and the As­so­ci­a­tion of Vic­tims of Uphaar Tragedy (AVUT), which has no lo­cus


standi in the mat­ter, have al­ready been pro­vided such an op­por­tu­nity.

Goyal ar­gued that “if the ac­cused has no right of hear­ing at this stage of fram­ing of charges against him, then cer­tainly the pros­e­cu­tion and any other party can have no such right by any stretch of imag­i­na­tion”.Op­pos­ing Kanth's plea, se­nior coun­sel KTS Tulsi ap­pear­ing for AVUT said "ma­te­rial avail­able on record shows that se­ri­ous of­fences pun­ish­able un­der sec­tion 304 of IPC is made out against the ac­cused, so he should not be dis­charged in the case as he was the main ar­chi­tect of the whole fire tragedy”.

AVUT had op­posed the clean chit given to the former po­lice of­fi­cer. It had also al­leged that the CBI was try­ing to pro­tect its former of­fi­cer by giv­ing an opin­ion that there was no neg­li­gence on his part.

The CBI had main­tained there was no ev­i­dence to charge Kanth and had added that at best the re­tired po­lice of­fi­cer could be charged with a lesser of­fence un­der sec­tion 304 A of In­dian Pe­nal Code (IPC).

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