SC orders Ansal to surrender immediately in Uphaar fire case


Hours after the direction of the Supreme Court, Uphaar theatre owner Gopal Ansal has surrendered at the Tihar Jail in New Delhi.

Fifty-nine people, trapped in the balcony of the theatre in South Delhi, had died of asphyxia following the fire and more than 100 were injured in the subsequent stampede on June 13, 1997 during the screening of Bollywood film "Border". The younger Ansal, who had been handed a one-year sentence, surrendered as the deadline handed by the Supreme Court practically ended and all his efforts to get a reprieve failed.

But elder brother Sushil Ansal, 79, was granted relief on the grounds of his advanced age.

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Earlier, a two-judge bench of the apex court had on March 5, 2014 held Sushil and Gopal Ansal guilty, but differed on the quantum of sentence to be awarded to them after which the matter was heard by a three-judge bench. He has to serve around seven months, since he has served around 4 months as an undertrial. He had then been given time of four weeks to surrender. They had to pay a fine of Rs 60 crore. The court, however, refused to grant him more time.

The court during a ruling this month said that since Gopal Ansal, did not suffer any age-related complications, as is the case with Sushil Ansal, there could be no principle of parity and he must spend one year in prison.