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Jailed Ansal Sr. hands over baton

delhi Updated: Oct 24, 2008 00:10 IST
Pankaj Vohra

Real Estate tycoon Sushil Ansal, who is in jail with his brother Gopal Ansal in connection with the Uphaar fire case, has handed over his businesses to his son Pranav Ansal.

Sushil Ansal has written a letter to employees of Ansals Properties and Infrastructure Limited, the company he heads, saying, “I have now decided that it is best Pranav runs the business.”

The Ansals are among India’s top realtors and own six multi-storeyed buildings in the Connaught Place area itself. They developed Sushant Lok and Palam Vihar in Gurgaon and did several projects in other cities.

Sushil and Gopal Ansal have been in jail since September 11 when they surrendered before a Patiala House court on the directions of the Supreme Court, which ruled that they should be in custody till the disposal of the case.

The case against them is in connection with the death of 59 people in the Uphaar Cinema hall fire on June 13, 1997. The Ansals owned the theatre. It has shut down since.

The Association of the Victims of the Uphaar tragedy, which had filed a petition along with the CBI for cancellation of their bail, had alleged tampering of court records.

In his letter, Sushil Ansal said, “In normal cases, the business would have evolved and I would have had more time not just to induct my son Pranav but also to guide him.

“I have now decided that it is best Pranav runs the business. I have full faith in his leadership and I would like all of you to extend to him your fullest cooperation,” Sushil Ansal wrote.

When contacted, Pranav Ansal described his father’s letter as “emotional”. “He doesn’t want anyone to get the feeling that the company is headless. Through the letter he has sent a message down the line to every staff,” he added.

Signing off, Sushil Ansal pleaded innocence. “I want you all to hold your head high. I have done no wrong. We have done no wrong. We have been victims of perhaps a misdirected campaign..., which we ... will continue to fight. Have faith in God. I am confident that justice will prevail.”