Uphaar tragedy: Court issues NBWs against accused Sushil, Gopal Ansal
New Delhi: A Delhi court Tuesday issued non bailable warrants (NBWs) against accused Sushil Ansal and Gopal Ansal for failing to appear before it in a case of alleged tampering of evidence in the 1997 Uphaar cinema hall fire case. Chief Metropolitan Magistrate Deepak Sherawat issued the warrants against the real estate barons.
The court is hearing a case related to the tampering of records after Neelam Krishnamoorthy, who lost two children in the fire, has sought compliance with the Delhi High Court order directing hearing of the matter thrice a week.
Krishnamoorthy, President of the Association of the Victims of Uphaar Tragedy (AVUT), has been fighting the legal battle on behalf of the victims' families for the last 20 years.
On June 13, 1997, a fire broke out at the theatre during the screening of Bollywood film 'Border', killing 59 people and injuring over 100.
On January 31, 2003, a trial court ordered an inquiry after some documents related to the case went missing from the court's record room. After an inquiry, a court employee was dismissed from service. The case is related to the tampering of a judicial file pertaining to a letter written by vice president of Ansal Properties Industries Ltd, V K Nagpal, to the Delhi Fire Services. An FIR was registered in this regard.
The Delhi High Court had on December 6 last year directed the lower court to make an endeavour to pronounce by July 15, 2019 its verdict in the matter and to fix at least three dates of hearing per week.
It had also asked the Delhi government and other parties in the case to cooperate in the trial to expedite disposal of the matter.
On January 17 last year, the high court had sought details of a case relating to the Uphaar cinema fire tragedy which was being heard by a trial court. This was after the victims' group moved a plea for speedy trial.
The Delhi High Court had on May 12 last year upheld a trial court order framing charges of tampering of evidence against Ansals.
A magisterial court on May 31, 2014 had ordered framing of charges against seven accused for abatement of offence, causing disappearance of evidence, criminal breach of trust by public servant and criminal conspiracy under the Indian Penal Code.
Theatre owners Gopal Ansal and his brother Sushil Ansal, Anoop Singh, Prem Prakash Batra, Harswaroop Panwar, Dharamveer Malhotra and Dinesh Chandra Sharma were accused of tampering with evidence in the case, pending since 2006.