A Delhi court on Friday dismissed the petition of builders Sushil Ansal and Gopal Ansal seeking to suspend their seven-year sentence in the Uphaar fire case, reported PTI.
In November, the Ansal brothers were sentenced to seven years in jail for tampering with evidence related to the incident in which 59 people had died and around 100 injured after a fire broke out at the Uphaar cinema hall in Delhi’s Green Park area on June 13, 1997.
Most of the victims had died of suffocation. The investigation into the fire revealed that the exit doors of the cinema hall had been blocked to add more seats.
On Friday, Additional Sessions Judge Anil Antil dismissed their appeals and also refused to release them on bail.
During the hearing, Additional Public Prosecutor AT Ansari said that the punishment given to the Ansal brothers provided a solace to the victims of the fire tragedy and reinforced their belief in the justice delivery system, reported The Indian Express.
Ansari argued that suspending their jail term would “trigger mental trauma and agony of the victims”.
“The manner in which the most crucial documents capable of establishing the involvement of Ansals in the case were handpicked from the court record – comprising more than 15,000 pages – relevant portions of which were torn, obliterated and defaced by sprinkling ink on them, was not a simple air strike but a guided missile attack to hit the target,” the prosecutor said.
The Ansal brothers had been convicted in the case by a trial court in 2015. They were, however, spared a jail term due to their age but were fined Rs 30 crore each. In February 2017, the Supreme Court sent Gopal Ansal to jail for one year but spared Sushil Ansal.
Along with the Ansal brothers, the trial court had also found two of their employees, PP Batra and Anoop Singh, and a former court staff, Dinesh Chand Sharma, guilty.
Tampering of evidence was detected for the first time in 2002. Following a departmental inquiry, Sharma was suspended and eventually terminated from service on June 25, 2004.