Ten years after a fire claimed 59 lives at Uphaar cinema, a city court on Friday sentenced theatre owners Gopal and Sushil Ansal to two-year rigorous imprisonment for causing death by negligence. The two were, however, granted bail soon after being sentenced.
Additional Sessions Judge Mamta Sehgal directed further investigation against the persons left out by the CBI in their earlier investigation. “Such government employees who have been instrumental in granting the permits against the legislative desire must be dealt with severely,” said Sehgal, ordering reopening of the probe.
The judge gave a go-ahead to the CBI to proceed against senior IPS officer Amod Kanth, the then DCP, Licensing, for allowing extra seats to be installed in the cinema hall. That had blocked the right exit gate of the hall, trapping people when the fire broke out.
Neelam Krishnamurthy, president, Association of Victims of Uphaar, said: “It is an utter disappointment to see Ansals going back home after our 10-year-long fight against them. They should have at least been sentenced to 59 hours in jail for killing 59 people.” Three other convicts —MCD employees N.D. Tiwari, Shyam Sunder Sharma and Delhi Fire Services officer H.S. Panwar, too were sentenced to two-year rigorous imprisonment.