Trial by Fire series on Netflix: Where are the Ansal brothers now? 

Trial by Fire story

The Netflix series is based on the 1997 Uphaar cinema fire tragedy and Neelam and Shekhar Krishnamoorthy’s gut-wrenching fight for justice as they navigate the loss of their kids 

Trial by Fire cast,
release date

The series based on real-life events features a stellar cast comprising Abhay Deol, Rajshri Deshpande, Anupam Kher, Ratna Pathak Shah, Ashish Vidyarthi, Shardul Bharadwaj in pivotal roles. It was released on Netflix on January 13 

Look back at Uphaar
cinema tragedy

A fire engulfed Delhi’s Uphaar cinema in 1997 during the screening of JP Dutta’s Border, leading to the death of 59 people. The theatre was owned by the Ansal brothers– Gopal Ansal and Sushil Ansal

battle for justice 

13 days after the tragedy struck them, Neelam and Shekhar Krishnamoorthy began going through newspapers, only to realise that there were many lapses in the theatre that led to the tragedy

Uphaar families vs
Ansal brothers 

CBI filed chargesheet against 16 accused including Sushil and Gopal Ansal on charges of causing death by negligence. The prosecution completed the recording of the evidence by 2000. The case ran for almost a decade with over 344 hearings 

‘Burst into tears’:
Neelam Krishnamoorthy

Neelam Krishnamoorthy burst into tears when the Supreme Court said in 2021 the Ansal brothers would not have to serve jail time if they paid a fine of Rs 30 crore each. Krishnamoorthy had said, “When I came out of court, I burst into tears. That was the only time in my life I couldn’t control myself. I felt traumatised, let down by the system. I lost faith in the very system I had faith in from 1997 till 2015.”

Sushil, Gopal Ansal
serve jail time 

The Ansal brothers were sentenced to 7 years simple imprisonment in a separate case of evidence tampering by a Delhi court in Nov 2021. The court also imposed a fine of Rs 2.5 crore on each brother

Ansal brothers
released on grounds
of age, yet again

In July 2022, another Delhi trial court ordered their release against the jail term already served by them since November 2021 on grounds of age

‘System is corrupt’,
says Krishnamoorthy

A visibly distraught Neelam Krishnamoorthy said to the judge, “This is complete injustice. We cannot have faith in the judiciary if the accused is rich and powerful… I made a mistake by coming to the court. The system is corrupt.”

Once a soldier, always
a soldier 

While Uphaar cinema fire has been a sombre tale, Captain Manjinder Singh Bhinder moved 150 people to safety without prioritising his own wellbeing. Captain Bhinder, his wife Jyot-Roop and 4-yr old son Ruskin succumbed to the noxious flames

What led to the
horrendous tragedy? 

The Uphaar fire tragedy was caused due to mismanagement. Senior advocate Harish Salve told the Delhi High Court in 2007, “Safety measures, meant for panic situations, were not in place in the ill-fated theatre… the persons, who were getting financial gains from the operation of the cinema, were criminally liable for the lapses”

Safety lapses led to
a catastrophe 

Some safety lapses on part of the Ansals included no exit lights, footlights, emergency lights, and no public announcement system. Exits were blocked as the owners made unauthorised extensions to raise the number of seats 

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Produced by Mehak Agarwal
Designed by Mohsin

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