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Thursday, Dec 12, 2019

Court slams CBI for Uphaar probe failure

The CBI was at the receiving end of severe criticism for its failure to probe the role of Delhi Police’s licensing department in the Uphaar tragedy case.

delhi Updated: Sep 10, 2008 23:32 IST
Bhadra Sinha
Bhadra Sinha
Hindustan Times

The Ansal brothers were not the only ones to draw court’s ire during the five-hour long marathon hearing.

The CBI too was at the receiving end of severe criticism for its failure to probe the role of Delhi Police’s licensing department in the Uphaar tragedy case.

As eminent senior advocates defending the Ansals failed to impress Justices BN Aggarwal and GS Singhvi, the bench disagreed with every contention made by them.

It rejected the arguments suggesting that the documents from trial court’s judicial file could have been lost due to some negligence on the part of court staff -- one of them had already been suspended.

Justice Aggarwal said: “We are not English judges. We know what is happening in our country. It could be with your collusion too. After all, you were the beneficiaries.”

Defending Sushil Ansal, senior advocate UU Lalit claimed the court could not have held his client responsible for tampering with evidence as five of the eight documents, allegedly tampered with, were not connected with them.

To this the court replied: “At the time of canceling bail, we are not supposed to hold a trial. Allegations need not be proved beyond reasonable doubt. The court has to come to a prima facie conclusion only. If it (bails) can’t be cancelled, it cannot be cancelled in any other case.”

Before pronouncing its order canceling Ansals’ bail, the court also took a dig at the CBI.

Justice Singhvi asked additional solicitor general Gopal Subramanium if the CBI had initiated action against officers of the licensing department who failed to take action against Uphaar cinema hall for the alleged deviations.

“The problem in our country is that we cry after a tragedy takes place. However, we do not mend our ways and wait for another tragedy to happen,” he added.

He asked Subramanium why hadn’t the CBI held the licensing authority accountable.

Subramanium failed to give a concrete reply and simply said the licensing department should have been vigilant.

“We hope that they have now become vigilant, at least within these 11 years. We all say that lives cannot be retrieved. But what about the future,” Justice Singhvi said.

The trial court had on November 23, 2007, given a go ahead to the CBI to pursue investigation against the licensing authority that failed to prosecute Uphaar cinema hall for the alleged deviations inside the building. However, the CBI has failed to follow the directions.