Real estate baron Gopal Ansal, convicted in the Uphaar fire tragedy, was denied permission on Friday by the Supreme Court to make business trips to London and New York.
A vacation bench of Justice JS Khehar and Justice C Nagappan refused to hear Ansal’s petition, asking him to mention the matter next week before a new bench. Ansal wants to travel to London from June 16-20 and to New York on June 20-27. He would return to India on June 28-29, he said.
Gopal moved the apex court on the day when the families of 59 people who died during the fire in 1997 observed the 17th anniversary of the tragedy.
Convicted along with his brother Sushil Ansal for negligence, Gopal claimed he had to meet financers, investors, architects in London to discuss investment proposals for 45 acres of land belonging to M/s Ansal Buildwell Ltd and associate companies in Kumarakom, Kerala.
In New York, he added, he needed to explore real estate development possibilities in and around the American city.
Gopal moved SC for permission as the court has restrained the Ansal brothers from leaving the country without its approval. The order came after the Association for Victims of Uphaar Tragedy (AVUT) sought the restraint order.
SC had on March 5 held the Ansals guilty in the case. The top court said the owners were more interested about making money than ensuring safety of the cinegoers.
AVUT, which observed the 17th anniversary of the incident on Friday, issued a statement and said members of the Association hoped that the larger bench would consider the enormity of the tragedy before deciding on the quantum of sentence.
“It is very evident from the findings of the Supreme Court that 59 invaluable lives were snuffed out due to wanton disregard of the statutes with the intention of making extra money rather than ensuring the safety of patrons,” the release said.