Uphaar fire case: former IPS officer exempted from appearance | delhi | Hindustan Times
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Uphaar fire case: former IPS officer exempted from appearance

A Delhi court exempted former IPS officer Amod Kanth, facing prosecution for allegedly allowing extra seats in Uphaar cinema where 59 movie-watchers died in a blaze in 1997, for appearance in the court for today.

delhi Updated: Sep 13, 2010 20:26 IST

A Delhi court exempted former IPS officer Amod Kanth, facing prosecution for allegedly allowing extra seats in Uphaar cinema where 59 movie-watchers died in a blaze in 1997, for appearance in the court for Monday.

"The accused is exempted from personal appearance for today," Metropolitan Magistrate Surya Malik Grover said, allowing the plea of the former police officer. The defence lawyers cited the Delhi High Court order on the issue, saying the trial court was asked to "consider" favourably the plea of Kanth for exemption from personal appearance before it.

Kanth, who was summoned as an accused after the court, had rejected CBI's probe report giving him a clean chit in the fire case and sought exemption from appearance in court saying he had a fracture in his left ankle and was advised complete bed rest.

Neelam Krishnamurthy, President of Association of Victims of Uphaar Tragedy (AVUT), however, said "as per the CrPC, an accused should first surrender and then get bail from the trial court. Law cannot be different for the common and influential persons."

The court had on August 12 rejected CBI's report giving a clean chit to Kanth in Uphaar cinema hall fire tragedy, saying there was sufficient evidence to prosecute him for allowing extra seats in the hall.

It had said there was sufficient material to prosecute Kanth 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. Earlier, CBI had filed a report after probing the role of Kanth and favoured his non-prosecution.

The agency, in its report, had said there was no witness to the fact that it was Kanth who had allowed the extra seats in the theatre, which was screening "Border" at the time of the incident, for any consideration. The alleged role of Kanth had come under the scanner when a trial court, while awarding varying jail terms to 12 accused, including theatre owners Sushil and Gopal Ansal in the fire case, had asked CBI to probe his alleged acts of commission and omission in allowing the extra seats.