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HindustanTimes Sat,01 Nov 2014

Uphaar victims reject Ansal's pay offer

HT Correspondent, Hindustan Times  New Delhi, October 09, 2012
First Published: 23:01 IST(9/10/2012) | Last Updated: 23:04 IST(9/10/2012)

Victims of the Uphaar tragedy on Tuesday, refused to accept Ansals' offer to pay for more damages in lieu of ending the 15-year-old criminal case against the brothers.

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The victims urged the Supreme Court to pronounce its judgment on their appeal, seeking enhancement of the sentence imposed on the Ansals for the 1997 fire tragedy. A fire that took place inside south Delhi's Uphaar Cinema, had killed 59 people.

Senior counsel KTS Tulsi, appearing for Association for Victims of Uphaar Tragedy (AVUT), told a bench of Justice TS Thakur and Justice Gyan Sudha Misra that the system can not improve unless severe punishment and damages were awarded to the accused.

The counsel told the court that in other countries, damages are awarded to commensurate with the wealth of the company which acted as a deterrent. "Here, this message has not gone," Tulsi said. His submissions came in the wake of accused Sushil Ansal's apologising to Neelam Krishnamurthy in the court on October 4.

Krishnamurthy lost her teenaged son and daughter in the incident. She started AVUT, spearheading a legal battle against the Ansals, the erstwhile MCD and the Delhi Vidyut Board.

On hearing Tulsi, the bench said, "You will have a judgment. We will take the matter to its logical conclusion." The bench further added, the charges against the accused were not compoundable. During the last date of hearing, the court had sought to know from Krishnamurthy whether the proceedings in the court could be used to improve the society.

For the first time in 15 years since the tragedy occurred, Sushil Ansal apologised to  Krishnamurthy. The eldest of the three brothers, Sushil Ansal walked up to Krishnamurthy and said, "I apologise with folded hands. I am even ready to give my blood to them. We accept that we have done wrong. We understand your enormous pain. Even I have children. My family is also suffering because of this case."


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