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Nov 23, 2007 at 05:58pm IST

Ansals sentenced to 2 yrs in jail for Uphaar fire

New Delhi: A Delhi sessions court on Friday sentenced real estate tycoons Gopal Ansal and Sushil Ansal to two years' imprisonment in connection with the Uphaar cinema fire, which had claimed 59 lives.

Pronouncing the quantum of punishment for the Ansals and 10 other people convicted in the case, the sessions court also imposed a fine of Rs 5,000 on both.

The two had been convicted under Section 304A of Indian Penal Code for causing death of a person/persons by rash or negligent act not amounting to culpable homicide.

JUSTICE AT LAST: CBI had sought maximum punishment for all the 12 accused in the case.

The order resulted in chaos in the court as the family members of the convicts called the judgement unfair and created a ruckus outside the courtroom.

Among the other convicts, two MCD officials and a Delhi Fire Service official have also sentenced to two-year jail term each for similar offences.

Seven others — including four Uphaar employees and three DVB officials — got seven-year rigorous imprisonment each for culpable homicide, not amounting to murder in the case. Like the Ansals, all other convicts too have been fined Rs 5,000 each.

The court, however, granted bail to the Ansal brothers on furnishing a personal and a surety bond of Rs 25,000 each in the case. Two MCD officials and a Delhi Fire Service staff also got bail on personal and surety bonds of Rs 25,000 each.

The remaining seven convicts — Radha Krishan Sharma, NS

Chopra, Ajit Chowdhary (Uphaar managers), Manmohan Unniyal

(cinema's gatekeeper), Brij Mohan Satija, AK Gera and Bir

Singh (all DVB officials) — have been taken into custody.

Earlier, YK Saxena, the counsel for prosecuting agency Central Bureau of Investigation, and the counsel arguing on behalf of the victims' families, Vikas Pahwa, had sought maximum punishment for all the 12 accused in the case.

However, the defence sought for mercy and probation. Gopal Ansal's counsel sought leniency for his client, saying his client had no direct role in the incident.

The Association of Victims of Uphaar Tragedy (AVUT) had also filed a written submission on point of sentencing seeking maximum punishment for the guilty. On Monday, the court had declared Gopal and Sushil Ansal, the owners of the cinema hall, guilty of criminal negligence in the case.

The court convicted 10 other accused in the case. They are RK Sharma, Ajit Chaudhary, NS Chopra, Manmohan Uniyal, Shyam Sunder Sharma, ND Tiwari, Hanswaroop Panwar, BM Satija, AK Gera and Beer Singh.

Shyam Sunder and Tiwari (both Municipal Corporation of Delhi officials), and Delhi Fire Service officer Panwar can face a punishment of a maximum of two years.

Four other accused — RM Puri, KL Malhotra (both senior employees of hall), SN Dandona (Executive Engineer of the Public Works Department) and Delhi Fire Services officer Surender Dutt — have died during the trial.