The Delhi High Court on Wednesday dismissed petitions by builders Sushil Ansal and Gopal Ansal, seeking suspension of their seven-year sentence in the Uphaar fire case, Live Law reported.
The court, however, allowed a plea for suspension of sentence of another convict, Anoop Singh Karayat. Justice Subramonium Prasad said that the judgements will be uploaded on the official website by the evening.
On November 8, 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 were injured. The fire at the Uphaar cinema hall in Delhi’s Green Park area broke out 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 December 3, Additional Sessions Judge Anil Antil had dismissed the Ansal brothers’ applications seeking that their sentences be suspended. The judge had also refused to release them on bail.
The brothers had sought suspension of their sentences on the grounds of old age. While Sushil Ansal is 83 years old, Gopal Ansal is 73 years old. The court, however, had held that age by itself could not be the sole criterion to accept their applications when the the convicts themselves were involved in delaying the trial in the case.
The Ansal brothers had been convicted in the main case pertaining to the fire 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.
The trial court had also found two of their employees, PP Batra and Anoop Singh, along with former court staff, Dinesh Chand Sharma, guilty.
Tampering of evidence was detected for the first time in 2002. After a departmental inquiry, Sharma was suspended and eventually terminated from service on June 25, 2004.