18 years on, families of victims renew pledge to fight for justice
“In addition to prayers, these families would re-dedicate themselves to bring the high and mighty perpetrators of the crime to book,” says Neelam <g data-gr-id="28">Krishamoorthy</g>, the moving force behind the Association of Victims’ of Uphaar Tragedy.
The Uphaar victims have been fighting a protracted battle to bring to book Sushil Ansal and Gopal Ansal, promoters of nation’s leading realty brand and owners of Uphaar cinema, where the nation’s worst-ever cinema disaster took place.
Amid huge public outcry, the case was handed over the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI).
The trial court had in 2007 convicted Ansals and others, 10 years after the tragedy. The matter then moved a Delhi Court, which in 2008 acquitted six of the 12 convicted persons and reduced the sentence of Sushil and Gopal Ansal to one year. Thereafter, the victims and the CBI filed petitions in 2009 in the Supreme Court, seeking enhancement of the sentence.
After several adjournments, the Apex Court concluded hearing in the matter in April 2013 and about a year later in March 2014 pronounced its judgment, upholding <g data-gr-id="31">conviction</g> of <g data-gr-id="22">Ansals</g>. “Though the judges concurred on the findings but there was a dissent with regard to sentencing and the matter was referred to a three- judge bench. One year and three months on and the order on sentencing is still pending,” said Krishnamoorthy.