New Delhi : The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) Friday raised questions over the permission granted for extra seats in the Uphaar theatre and demanded the then Deputy Commissioner Police be prosecuted like the Ansal brothers for the 1997 fire tragedy in which 59 people were killed.
Advancing arguments in the 11-year-old Uphaar fire tragedy case, CBI counsel Harish Salve argued before Justice S. Ravinder Bhat that then DCP (licensing) Amod Kanth had illegally permitted extra seats in the balcony of the theatre, for which he should be prosecuted.
Salve also pleaded that Sushil and Gopal Ansal, owners of the theatre, should be punished under stringent penal provisions.
The senior lawyer alleged that Ansal bothers were responsible for the mishap as they were in charge of the cinema hall and the financial control for maintenance of the theatre was with them.
The trial court on Nov 20 last year held the Ansal brothers guilty along with three others under Section 304-A IPC (causing death due to rash and negligent act) and sentenced them to two years’ imprisonment.
Seven others, including two theatre managers Ajit Chowdhary and Nirmal Chopra, were convicted under Section 304 IPC (culpable homicide not amounting to murder) and sentenced to seven years’ jail.
Others convicted under the same section are R.K. Sharma, Manmohan Unniyal (cinema’s gatekeeper), Brij Mohan Satija, A.K. Gera and Bir Singh (all Delhi Vidyut Board officials).
On June 13, 1997, afternoon, at least 59 people, including women and children, were killed due to asphyxia in a devastating fire that broke out in the cinema hall’s transformer in the basement during screening of Hindi film “Border”.
The Delhi High Court on Jan 4 had granted bail to the Ansal brothers and two other accused.
However, in September, the Supreme Court cancelled their bail and asked them to complete the sentence awarded to them by the trial court.