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Uphaar tragedy: Delhi court pulls up Sushil Ansal for coming late for hearing

twitter-logo PTI        Last Updated: March 28, 2019  | 21:23 IST

New Delhi, Mar 28 (PTI) A Delhi court on Thursday pulled up businessman Sushil Ansal for coming late to a hearing in the case of alleged tampering with evidence in the 1997 Uphaar cinema hall fire and directed him to remain present till it rose. It, however, let him go after four hours. Chief Metropolitan Magistrate Deepak Sherawat, who had on March 26 issued non bailable warrants (NBWs) against Sushil and his brother Gopal Ansal for failing to appear before it in the case, observed that Sushil was late to attend the court proceedings. The court directed him to remain seated in the courtroom till the rising of the court (TRC). The direction came at around 11 am and after four hours Sushil was allowed to leave. The court had on March 26 issued the warrants against the real estate barons. Later, both the accused moved applications seeking cancellation of non bailable warrants, which will be heard on Saturday. The court is hearing a case related to alleged tampering of records after Neelam Krishnamoorthy, who lost two children in the fire, sought compliance od 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. All the accused have denied the allegations against them. PTI UK ABA RT

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