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Gopal Ansal surrenders after SC refuses to grant more time

 Team MP |  2017-03-20 19:20:22.0  |  New Delhi

Gopal Ansal surrenders after SC refuses to grant more time

Hours after Supreme Court rolled out its order to surrender, Gopal Ansal presented himself before Tihar jail authorities where he had to undergo one-year sentence in relation to the Uphaar tragedy case.

On Monday, the Supreme Court declined any relief to Gopal Ansal and asked him to surrender by evening.

A Bench comprising Chief Justice J S Khehar and Justices D Y Chandrachud and S K Kaul rejected the plea moved by the real estate baron seeking more time to surrender on the ground that he has moved a mercy plea before the President.

"Sorry, we can't," said the Bench when senior advocate Ram Jethmalani mentioned the matter and sought more time, informing the Court about their mercy plea with the President.
The apex court also rejected the plea from the senior advocate seeking a direction for speedy disposal of his mercy plea, pending before the President, saying that it cannot interfere in the matter as it is an exclusive jurisdiction of the President.

The apex court, on March 9, had dismissed Ansal's petition for parity with his elder brother Sushil Ansal, who was awarded jail term but considering his 'age-related complications' he was freed from serving the jail term.

The 69-year-old Gopal Ansal was in jail earlier for around four-and-a-half-month in connection with the same case-June 13, 1997 fire tragedy. 59 people lost their lives in Uphaar cinema during the screening of Hindi movie 'Border'. Over 100 people were injured in the subsequent stampede.

A Bench headed by Justice Gogoi, in a 2:1 majority verdict on February 9, had granted relief to 76-year-old Sushil Ansal considering age-related complications. But, Gopal was asked to surrender in four weeks to serve the remaining jail term.

Gopal had thereafter approached the apex court seeking modification of its orderon the grounds of parity, saying he was 69-year-old and would suffer irreparable damage to his health if sent to prison. In its February 9 judgement, the apex court had upheld the fine of INR 30 crore which was imposed on both the convicts earlier and said it should be utilised for setting up a trauma centre.
Earlier, a two-judge Bench of the apex court had on March 5, 2014 held Sushil and Gopal Ansal guilty but differed on the quantum of sentence to be awarded to them after which the matter was heard by a three-judge Bench.

The Delhi High Court on December 19, 2008 had awarded one-year jail term to both Sushil and Gopal Ansal in the case while reducing the two-year sentence imposed on them by the trial court.

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