The Supreme Court on Wednesday allowed real estate barons Sushil and Gopal Ansal to walk free in the 1997 Uphaar fire tragedy case, but they will have to deposit a fine of Rs 30 crore each within three months.
The apex court awarded sentence for a period undergone by Ansals in jail in the June 13 cinema hall tragedy that killed 59 people. The fine of Rs 60 crore, to be deposited by Ansals, would be utilised by the Delhi government, the court said.
While Sushil has already served a jail term of five months, Gopal has spent 142 days behind the bars. Eighteen years after the fire, the SC had last year found the owners of the cinema guilty of causing the 59 deaths due to negligence.
Among the victims of the fire tragedy were 23 children. They died of suffocation, medical reports concluded. Investigations revealed that one of the fire exits was blocked to accommodate extra seats trapping people inside. Over 100 others were injured.
Earlier, the Delhi high court had reduced the sentence of Ansal brothers from two years to one year, NDTV reported. The Central Bureau of Investigation, which had probed the case, and the families of the victims, had demanded a more stringent sentence, the report said.