Uphaar fire case: SC allows Ansal Theatres to move trial court for de-sealing cinema hall
The Supreme Court on Thursday allowed Ansal Theatres and Clubotels Private Ltd to approach the trial court for de-sealing of the Uphaar cinema hall where 59 cinema-goers had lost in a fire tragedy in 1997.
New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Thursday allowed Ansal Theatres and Clubotels Private Ltd to approach the trial court for de-sealing of the Uphaar cinema hall where 59 cinema-goers had lost in a fire tragedy in 1997.
The firm’s former directors were real estate barons Sushil Ansal and Gopal Ansal.
A bench headed by Justice K.M. Joseph recorded the CBI and the Delhi Police’s submissions that they do not have any claim over the property.
The bench, also comprising Justices B.V. Nagarathna and Ahsanuddin Amanullah, said if the firm moves the trial court within 10 weeks, then the court could decide its plea in accordance with law.
Additional Solicitor General K.M. Nataraj, representing the investigative agency, said the trial court is the appropriate forum, which can be approached to de-seal the property.
The Association of the Victims of Uphaar Tragedy (AVUT) President Neelam Krishnamoorthy, appearing in person, contended that the top court had asked the Ansal brothers to deposit Rs 60 crore for construction of a trauma centre in Delhi.
The AVUT had argued that the de-sealing of the cinema hall might affect evidence that extra seats had resulted in closure of the gangway leading to the death of cinema-goers.
Counsel, representing the Ansal brothers, submitted that they have already deposited Rs 60 crore towards the construction of the trauma centre. The counsel said the cinema hall should be de-sealed as the trial in the main case is over. Earlier, the CBI had opposed the de-sealing and release of the cinema hall till the completion of the entire trial.
On April 20, the Supreme Court quashed the trial court proceedings against Amod Kanth, former IPS officer, in the 1997 Uphaar fire tragedy case, over lack of sanction for his prosecution.
The top court said the magistrate erred in taking cognisance against Kanth contrary to the demands of Section 197 of the CrPC.