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Uphaar Cinema Fire: Ansal brothers sentenced for 7-year jail term for tampering evidence

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Uphaar Cinema Tragedy is one of the worst fire tragedies that happened in recent Indian history where 59 people died on 13 June 1997. In the incident that happened at the Uphaar Cinema in Green Park, Delhi during the afternoon screening of the iconic movie, Border, 59 people were trapped inside the complex and died of asphyxiation while over one hundred were injured in the stampede. Decades after the incident, a Delhi court has awarded seven-year simple imprisonment to the real estate barons, Gopal Ansal and Sushil Ansal, who were accused of tampering with the evidence in the case.

Chief metropolitan magistrate Pankaj Sharma at Patiala High Court awarded the sentence notice after “thinking over for many nights”. Sharma mentioned that it was one of the biggest cases of his career and after thinking for many days, he decided that the “accused deserved punishment.” The court has also imposed a fine of INR 2.5 crore on each of the Ansals.

They were convicted under IPC Sections 201 (tampering of evidence), 120B (punishment of criminal conspiracy) and 409 (criminal breach of trust by a public servant) on October 8. The court observed that the accused while facing trial in the case had destroyed critical documents “which were capable of proving their complicity in the said case”. Along with the Ansal brothers, two of their employees and former court staff were also found guilty.

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