Suspension of jail term to Ansals will cause trauma to Uphaar victims: Police

The Delhi Police on Wednesday told a Delhi court that suspension of the seven-year jail term, awarded to real estate barons Sushil and Gopal Ansal for tampering of evidence in the main Uphaar fire tragedy case, will cause mental trauma and agony to victims
New Delhi, India - June 13, 2017: Inside the ruins of Uphaar Cinema on the 20th anniversary of the fire tragedy that occurred on June 13, 1997. The cinema hall resembles a ghost-town, littered with shoes, bottles, fire-blackened seats, vehicles and debris from 20 years ago, in New Delhi, India, on Tuesday, June 13, 2017. (Photo by Burhaan Kinu/ Hindustan Times) (Burhaan Kinu/HT PHOTO)
New Delhi, India - June 13, 2017: Inside the ruins of Uphaar Cinema on the 20th anniversary of the fire tragedy that occurred on June 13, 1997. The cinema hall resembles a ghost-town, littered with shoes, bottles, fire-blackened seats, vehicles and debris from 20 years ago, in New Delhi, India, on Tuesday, June 13, 2017. (Photo by Burhaan Kinu/ Hindustan Times) (Burhaan Kinu/HT PHOTO)
Published on Nov 25, 2021 12:33 AM IST
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ByHT Correspondent, New Delhi

The Delhi Police on Wednesday told a Delhi court that suspension of the seven-year jail term, awarded to real estate barons Sushil and Gopal Ansal for tampering of evidence in the main Uphaar fire tragedy case, will cause mental trauma and agony to victims.

Arguing before additional sessions judge Anil Antil, additional public prosecutor AT Ansari told the court that punishing the Ansal brothers would provide solace to victims of the fire tragedy and reinforced their faith in the justice system, that too after 24 years.

“The manner in which the most crucial documents, capable of establishing the involvement of Ansals in the case, were handpicked from the court records comprising more than 15,000 pages, relevant portion of the documents were torn, obliterated and defaced by sprinkling ink on them, was not a simple air strike; it was a guided missile attack to hit the target,” Ansari told the court.

He said if the sentence is suspended just after 15 days of it being pronounced, it will further erode the faith of common citizens in the criminal justice system. He said it was not less than an assault on the justice delivery system whereby institutional integrity of the Delhi judiciary was sought to be undermined.

The hearing relates to tampering with evidence in the main case on the fire tragedy, which claimed 59 lives, during the screening of the Hindi film ‘Border’ on June 13, 1997.

In August 2015, the Ansal brothers were sentenced to two years in jail in the main fire case by the Supreme Court, but the apex court released them taking into account the time they already spent in jail, on the condition that they pay a fine of 30 crore each, to be used for building a trauma centre in the national capital

A Delhi court on November 8, also handed a seven-year jail term each to the brothers for tampering with evidence and noted in the verdict that their regrets over the incident were “hollow”.

Challenging the latest magisterial court conviction and jail term, Ansals have also urged the court to suspend their punishment during the pendency of the appeal.

The magisterial court also awarded seven years in jail to former court staff Dinesh Chand Sharma and two others, P P Batra and Anoop Singh, and imposed a fine of 3 lakh on each of them.

The tampering was detected for the first time on July 20, 2002, and a departmental inquiry was initiated against Sharma and he was suspended. He was terminated from service on June 25, 2004. The prosecution said after the termination, the Ansal brothers helped Sharma get employment on a monthly salary of 15,000.

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Saturday, November 27, 2021