18 years after 59 people perished in the Uphaar Cinema fire in New Delhi we look at the case as the final verdict was announced by the Supreme Court on August 19, 2015.
Real estate barons Sushil and Gopal Ansal escaped being jailed in the 18-year-old gruesome Uphaar Cinema fire tragedy in which 59 people died with the Supreme Court asking them to pay a fine of Rs.30 crore each and restricting their jail term to the period already undergone by them.
Overturning the pleas of Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) and the victims’ association, a three-judge bench of justices A.R. Dave, Kurian Joseph and Adarsh Kumar Goel asked them to pay the total fine of Rs.60 crore months and deposit it with the Delhi government, which in turn will spend the money on welfare schemes. While Sushil had spent over five months in prison, Gopal was in jail for over four months immediately after the tragedy.
Fifty-nine people, trapped in the balcony of the theatre in South Delhi, had died of asphyxia following the fire and over 100 were injured in the subsequent stampede on 13 June 1997 during the screening of Bollywood film “Border”.
Earlier, a bench of justices T.S. Thakur and Gyan Sudha Mishra (since retired) had on 5 March 2014, held real estate barons Sushil and Gopal Ansal guilty, but differed on the quantum of sentence to be awarded to them.