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Uphaar tragedy: Court exempts Kanth from appearing


New Delhi : A city court hearing the Uphaar fire tragedy case Friday accepted the plea of former IPS officer Amod Kanth seeking exemption from appearing in court because of an ankle fracture.

Metropolitan Magistrate Sanjeev Kumar said: “The accused is exempted from his personal appearance before this court. He is directed to appear Sep 30.”

On Aug 11, the court had rejected the Central Bureau of Investigation’s (CBI) probe report giving Kanth a clean chit in the fire tragedy case, and asked him to appear for hearings.

“There are enough grounds to prosecute Kanth under section 304 A (causing death by rash and negligent act), section 337 (causing hurt) and section 338 (causing grievous hurt) of the Indian Penal Code, and the Cinematograph Act,” the court said Aug 11.

According to Kanth’s lawyer, R.S. Malik the accused had suffered a fracture in his left ankle on June 16 and had been advised complete bed rest. He asked the court to give Kanth four weeks in order to recover.

“He has been given four weeks time to recover and appear before the court,” said Malik.

Earlier, the CBI had filed a report after probing Kanth’s role and favoured his non-prosecution.

The CBI report stated that there was no witness to state that it was Kanth who had allowed the extra seats in the Uphaar theatre for any consideration. Kanth’s alleged role has come under the scanner after a trial court while awarding jail terms to 12 accused, including theatre owners Sushil and Gopal Ansal, had asked CBI to probe his alleged “acts of commission and omission” in allowing the extra seats.

The fire tragedy took place June 13, 1997, in Uphaar cinema hall in south Delhi, killing 59 cine-goers. Over a hundred others received injuries. The fire broke out during the screening of the film “Border”.