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Uphaar fire tragedy: Delhi High Court asks lower court to conclude document tampering case by 30 November

The Delhi High Court on Monday directed lower court to conclude the case related to alleged tampering of documents in trial of 1997 Uphaar fire tragedy case by 30 November, 2018. The court also sought a status report on trial by 7 September.

Earlier in January, the high court had sought details of the Uphaar fire tragedy case on a plea by the victims' association seeking an expeditious trial in the matter.

Justice Anu Malhotra, who on 17 January had asked the registrar general of the high court to file a status report of the case, on 29 January again passed a similar order as it did not receive any report.

File image of Delhi High Court.AFP

Representational image. AFP

The court had said that the report with details be filed before the next date of hearing on 5 February.

It sought to know the status and the number of witnesses being cross-examined in the alleged tampering of documents during the trial of the main case involving real estate barons Sushil and Gopal Ansal.

What is tampering of documents case all about? 

The case is going on before the Chief Metropolitan Magistrate at Patiala House court in New Delhi. The Association of the Victims of Uphaar Tragedy (AVUT) had sought day-to-day trial in a case related to tampering of evidence in the case.

Its counsel had earlier contended that despite charges being framed and upheld by the high court, not a single prosecution witness has been examined.

Delhi Police's counsel was also in favour of speedy trial in the matter. A trial court had on 31 January, 2003, ordered an inquiry after some documents related to the case had gone missing from the court's record room. After an inquiry, a court employee was dismissed from service.

The case is related to the tampering of a judicial file pertaining to a letter written by vice-president of Ansal Properties Industries Ltd, VK Nagpal, to the Delhi Fire
Service. An FIR was registered in this regard.

The high court had on 12 May last year upheld a trial court order framing charges of tampering of evidence against the Ansal brothers.

The fire tragedy 

On 13 June, 1997, a fire had broken out at the theatre during the screening of Bollywood film 'Border', killing 59 people and injuring over 100.

A magisterial court had on 31 May, 2014 ordered framing of charges against seven accused for abatement of offence, causing disappearance of evidence, criminal breach of trust by public servant and criminal conspiracy under the IPC.

Theatre owners Gopal Ansal and his brother Sushil Ansal, Anoop Singh, Prem Prakash Batra, Harswaroop Panwar, Dharamveer Malhotra and Dinesh Chandra Sharma were accused of tampering with evidence in the case, pending since 2006. All the accused have denied the allegations against them.

On 9 February, 2017, the Supreme Court in the curative petition had sentenced Gopal Ansal to jail for a year in connection with the blaze. However, the bench had spared 77-year-old Sushil Ansal because of his age.

With inputs from PTI

Updated Date: Mar 05, 2018 12:35 PM

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