Uphaar fire tragedy: High Court uphold charges against Ansals for evidence tempering

The Delhi High Court on Friday has upheld the judgment of the trial court, which has charged the real estate barons Sushil and Gopal Ansal with tempering of evidence in a case related to the 1997 Uphaar fire tragedy.

The verdict by Justice Siddharth Mridul has also stated that there were adequate materials before the trial court for justifying the charges against the accused. The bench also revealed that the materials have also given rise to strong suspicion that accused committed the offence for which charges were rightly framed. The high court also ordered the magisterial court to proceed with the trial in the case, which in its judgment on May 31, 2014 had ordered framing of charges against seven accused for abetment of offence, causing disappearance of evidence, criminal breach of trust by public servant and criminal conspiracy under the IPC.

The cinema hall named Uphaar, was owned by Sushil Ansal with his brother Gopal Ansal, Prem Prakash Batra, Harswaroop Panwar, Anoop Singh, Dharamveer Malhotra and Dinesh Chandra Sharma, who stand accused for tampering evidence in the case, pending since 2006. A court had initiated an inquiry on January 31, 2003, after some documents pertaining to the Uphaar fire tragedy case had gone missing from the court’s record room.

The case dates back to June 13, 1997, when fire had broken out in theatre, during the during the screening of Bollywood film, Border leading to the death of fifty nine people and had injured around hundred people. Most of the causalities had occurred due to asphyxiation and stampede, as the exit of the cinema hall was plugged to adjust more seats, leaving the people entrapped in the hall.