Ansal brothers won’t go to jail as SC rejects curative plea

Ansal brothers won’t go to jail as SC rejects curative plea

The Supreme Court has dismissed a curative plea filed by victims' association in connection with the 1997 Uphaar fire tragedy case, which has enabled the Ansal brothers, Sushil and Gopal Ansal, to escape further jail term in the case.

Industrialists Sushil and Gopal Ansal owned the Uphaar Cinema where a fire killed 59 people during the screening of Hindi movie 'Border' on June 13, 1997.

A bench of Chief Justice S A Bobde and Justices NV Ramana and Arun Mishra on Thursday rejected the curative plea of the Association for Victims of Uphaar Tragedy (AVUT) in Uphaar cinema fire case.

In the case that dragged into a long legal tangle, a trial court had in 2015convicted the Ansal brothers, who owned the theatre. However, it had spared them a jail term due to their age. Later, when the matter went to the Supreme Court, it had sent Gopal Ansal to jail for one year, sparing Sushil Ansal.

In 2017, a three-judge bench had given relief to 78-year-old Sushil Ansal considering his "advanced age-related complications" by awarding him the jail term which he had already undergone. It, however, asked his younger sibling Gopal Ansal to serve the remaining one-year jail term.

"The judgment enhances the sentence awarded by the High Court from one year of rigorous imprisonment to two years of rigorous imprisonment for each of the convicts but erroneously substitutes the additional one year of sentence with a fine of Rs 30 crore on each."

"Further, the judgment also reduces the sentence of one year on Sushil Ansal to the period of sentence already undergone if the fine imposed is paid by the convict in view of his advanced age," the curative plea had said.