It was a tough verdict to pronounce. Additional Sessions Judge Mamta Sehgal, who convicted all the 12 accused, including the Ansal brothers, in the Uphaar Cinema fire tragedy case, invoked the name of God before the pronouncement, quietly murmuring prayers before pronouncing the accused guilty.
It was far tougher for Neelam Krishnamoorthy, who lost both her children in the tragedy. She broke down in court immediately after the pronouncement. As she sobbed, her husband Shekhar tried to console her.
Krishnamoorthy, who has been the face of those scarred for life by the tragedy as president of the Association of the Victims of Uphaar Tragedy (AVUT), sat in a corner of the court with her husband.
Neelam opened her wallet that had pictures of her two children — Unnati (17) and Ujjwal (13) — kissed them and then kept them close to her heart. She then rested her head on her husband’s shoulder. A few minutes later, she said, “We did not fight for 10 long years to bargain for a mere two-year prison term. We made a promise to our children that we will not stop until we get them justice and we will fight to the end.”
Relatives of all 28 families that lost their dear ones in the tragedy had turned up in the court for the verdict. The atmosphere in court turned tense and quiet as the time for the verdict to be delivered drew near. Unsure of their fate, accused Sushil and Gopal Ansal sat quietly with their battery of lawyers.
After the verdict was finally pronounced, the brothers, as well as the other accused, slipped away quietly, evading the hordes of reporters and photographers standing in wait outside.