Uphaar case: Has justice been served?
India

Uphaar case: Has justice been served? 

20 Mar 2017 | By NewsBytes Desk

SC asks Gopal Ansal to surrender in Uphaar case

The Supreme Court has ordered Gopal Ansal to surrender in connection with his accountability for the 1997 Uphaar cinema tragedy.

He had sought an extension of his time to surrender, before he serves his 1-year jail term. His counsel, Ram Jethmalani had said it was due to age-related issues.

The Association of Victims of Uphaar Tragedy welcomed the verdict.

Timeline
13 Jun 1997

Uphaar fire kills 59, injures 103

The Uphaar Cinema fire was one of the most horrific fire tragedies that took place in New Delhi.

​On 13 June 1997, the Uphaar Cinema (owned by the business family Ansals) caught fire during the screening of the movie 'Border'.

59 people trapped inside died, mostly due to asphyxiation while 103 were seriously injured in the stampede due to the lack of fire exits.

Fact

Army officer loses life but saves 150 others

An off-duty captain, Manjinder Singh Bhinder of the 61st Cavalry of Indian Army and another junior officer gave up theirs and their family's lives, trying to save about 150 people.

15 Nov 1997

Negligence at its worst

Negligence at its worst

A number of code violations were found by enquiries ensued by the Law commission of India, Delhi Fire department, Naresh Kumar committee, Deputy Commissioner of Police and CBI.

The hall's gangways were blocked (unauthorized expansions to add seats).

There were no footlights and exit-lights which threw the hall into pitch darkness.

There were fire extinguishers lacking; locked exits and haphazard cables were found.

Fact

Victims mistook fire as special effects!

In an irony of fate, the transformer which caused the Uphaar tragedy had caught fire the same morning as well but nothing was done to repair it; the smoke from the fire was mistaken as 'special effects' during the movie.

1 Feb 2001

CBI probe ordered in Uphaar fire tragedy

The Union home ministry ordered a Central Bureau of Investigation probe into the Uphaar cinema hall fire.

The order came after the inquiry report of the Delhi government's Deputy Commissioner Naresh Kumar was released, which indicted the electricity department, fire brigade and theatre management for allegedly covering-up to protect the guilty.

Warrants against the Ansals were given out as well.

24 Apr 2003

Delhi HC orders Rs. 25 crore compensation

Delhi HC orders Rs. 25 crore compensation

The Delhi HC ordered approximately Rs.25 crore to be paid in compensation to the victims of the tragedy.

Justice S K Mahajan and Justice Mukul Mudgal ordered Ansals to pay compensation of Rs.15 lakh for victims under 20 years and Rs.18 lakh to those above 20 years at the time of tragedy.

Rs.1 lakh was to be given to all those who were injured.

20 Nov 2007

Ansal brothers convicted

On 20 November 2007, the court convicted all 12 people including the Ansal brothers on various charges including death by negligence.

They were subjected to 2 years of rigorous imprisonment.

They were also fined Rs.1,000 each for violating Section 14 of the Cinematography Act.

The court also directed CBI to carry on probe on 7 officials who had temporary licenses to run Uphaar cinema.

11 Sep 2008

Supreme Court sends Ansal brothers to Tihar

Real estate barons Sushil and Gopal Ansal were sent to Tihar jail by a Delhi court where they surrendered.

This comes in the wake of the SC order cancelling their bail.

The apex court directed the Ansals to ''serve out the remaining period of the two-year sentence'' given by the trial court.

Earlier on 4 January 2008, they had been granted bail by HC.

20 Aug 2015

Uphaar cinema case: Ansals to pay ₹60 crore, no jail time

Uphaar cinema case: Ansals to pay ₹60 crore, no jail time

According to the SC ruling, Gopal and Sushil Ansal, indicted in the Uphaar case will not serve jail.

The Ansals were fined ₹60 crore for 'willful negligence'.

Families of the deceased expressed their disappointment with the verdict.

The ₹60 crore is to be paid within 3 months; this will then be used for the building of a trauma centre by the Delhi government.

Fact

Association of Victims of Uphaar Tragedy speaks out

Neelam Krishnamurthy, who led the Association of Victims of Uphaar Tragedy said, "The court of law is not same for the rich and the poor. Rich people can get away by paying money but for ordinary citizens, judiciary is different".

09 Feb 2017

Uphaar Cinema Fire Case: Gopal Ansal gets jail

The Supreme Court ruled today that the Ansal brothers, who built and operated Delhi's Uphaar cinema are guilty of causing deaths due to negligence and one of them must be arrested within 4 weeks.

Gopal Ansal has received a year-long sentence. He has a month to surrender and move to prison.

Sushil Ansal will not be jailed due to his age, said the judges.

20 Mar 2017

SC asks Gopal Ansal to surrender in Uphaar case

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