The Supreme Court on Thursday ordered the real estate baron Gopal Ansal to serve one year jail term in Uphaar fire tragedy case of which he has already served four months.
Reacting to the verdict, Neelam Krishnamoorthy, whose children died in Uphaar tragedy, said that she had lost faith in judiciary after today’s verdict.
She told reporters, “SC judgement shows rich have special rights and can walk away by killing children by paying for trauma centre. We don’t give a damn about the trauma centre. I should’ve shot these people the day my children died…I am extremely disappointed. The biggest mistake in my life was coming to court. I’ve lost faith in judiciary.”
CBI and Krishnamoorthy’s Association of Victims of Uphaar Tragedy (AVUT) had sought review of the apex court verdict, delivered on August 19, 2015, sending Ansal brothers to two years rigorous jail term if they fail to pay Rs 30 crore each within three months. The convicts have already paid the fine.
A three-judge bench of justices Ranjan Gogoi, Kurian Joseph and Adarsh Kumar Goel which had reserved the judgement on the review pleas after hearing lengthy arguments, advanced by counsel for CBI, AVUT and Ansal brothers is likely to pronounce its verdict.
Fifty nine people had died of asphyxia when a fire broke out during the screening of Bollywood movie “Border” in Uphaar theatre in Green Park area of South Delhi on June 13, 1997. Over 100 were also injured in the subsequent stampede.
The apex court had on December 5 asked the Ansal brothers not to leave India till it disposes of the review pleas after AVUT cited a media report about their possibility of leaving the country in the absence of a restraint order from it.
AVUT, through its President Neelam Krishnamoorthy, who had lost her two teenaged children in the blaze, had cited a media report that the convicts were “on the verge of fleeing the country”.
The victims body had also mentioned the review plea for urgent hearing before a bench headed by Chief Justice T S Thakur who said a new bench would be constituted to hear the review petitions filed by CBI and the association.
Prior to that, a bench headed by Justice A R Dave, now retired, had decided to hear in open court the petitions filed by CBI and AVUT seeking review of the 2015 verdict.
Following the judgement, Sushil and Gopal Ansal had deposited Rs 30 crore each to avoid the jail term.
In its review plea, AVUT had said the apex court judgement “bestows an unwarranted leniency on convicts whose conviction in the most heinous of offences has been upheld by all courts including this court and sentences imposed on them have been substituted with fine without assigning any reason”.