Uphaar cinema fire convict Gopal Ansal’s request for more time to surrender rejected by Supreme Court. Ansal has now petitioned President Pranab Mukherjee to pardon his one-year sentence.
On March 9, the Supreme Court ordered Ansal to surrender on March 20 in the Uphaar fire tragedy case, dismissing his plea that he not be sent back to jail. “The appeal filed by Gopal Ansal is dismissed,” a three-judge bench headed by Justice Ranjan Gogoi said. “Gopal Ansal will surrender to serve the rest of the sentence as imposed on him on March 20,” the bench added.
On 9 February, the apex court had sentenced Gopal Ansal to one-year imprisonment, while his elder brother Sushil Ansal was let off with a fine of Rs30 crore considering his advanced age.
The Ansal brothers were initially sentenced to two years’ imprisonment by the trial court. This was reduced to one year by the Delhi high court on 19 December 2008.
Fifty-nine people, trapped in the balcony of the Uphaar theatre in south Delhi, died of asphyxia following the fire and over 100 were injured in the subsequent stampede on 13 June 1997 during the screening of Hindi film Border. The Ansals recently sought the court’s nod to reopen Uphaar Cinema premises which have remained sealed ever since the accident.