Uphaar evidence tampering case: Delhi HC to pass order on Ansal brothers pleas tomorrow
The Delhi High Court will pass order on the petitions moved by real estate barons Sushil and Gopal Ansal and others who sought a suspension of their seven-year jail term in the Uphaar cinema fire evidence tampering case on Wednesday.
The bench of Justice Subramonium Prasad will pass the judgment on Wednesday. The court had kept the order reserved on January 27, 2022 after the conclusion of the submissions of all sides.
The bench said, ''Will try to pronounce judgment on the petition before the date of hearing before the trial court. If, in any case, it is not pronounced by then, I will have one hearing to direct the trial court to continue the hearing on appeals."
The Trial court had awarded them seven years imprisonment and also imposed a fine of Rs 2.25 crore.
Senior Advocate Abhishek Manu Singhvi, counsel for Ansals, submitted before the bench that no judicial system considered the primary conviction as final. There is a need to adopt a larger view and not a tactical one. He further submitted that the allegations were related to continuing conspiracy of tampering with evidence. But there is no direct evidence of tempering the evidence. The only ground was that I would be the beneficiary of the delay.
Advocate Singhvi argued, " Everything was based on the point of benefit from conspiracy.
But there can not be an open-ended, continuing conspiracy. He said 95 per cent of documents were those whose author was not examined. In this situation, the admissibility of documents cannot go without the authenticity of the author."
During the argument on petition Senior Advocate Arvind Nigam counsel on behalf of Sushil Ansal submitted that he was the licensee of the Uphar cinema hall.
Senior Advocate N Hariharan had argued on behalf of the Gopal Ansal before the bench of Justice Subramanian Prasad on Tuesday. He said, ''Motive alone was not sufficient to prove conspiracy. There was an alleged motive of delaying the trial." He had argued, " There certain things to prove that there was a conspiracy. There should be a reason to believe that two or more persons conspired to commit and offence.
Senior Advocate Vikas Pahwa appeared for the Association of The Victims of Uphaar Tragedy (AVUT) strongly apposed the petitions and submitted that the offence of tampering is extremely serious in nature, as it affects the entire criminal justice system. It is direct interference in the administration of justice and thus requires serious consideration while suspending the sentence of seven years and a fine of Rs 2.25 crores.
Businessmen Gopal Ansal, Sushil Ansal and one other moved the Delhi High Court against the order of Session Court. The sessions court had not suspended their sentence. Earlier they moved Sessions Court against Magistrate Court order convicting and sentencing them to 7 years jail for tampering with evidence in the 1997 Uphaar fire tragedy case.
Chief Metropolitan Magistrate (CMM) Court on November 8 last year had sentenced seven-year imprisonment and imposed Rs 2.25-crore fine each on Sushil and Gopal Ansal for tampering with evidence.
CMM Dr Pankaj Sharma sentenced seven years jail terms to convict businessmen Sushil Ansal and Gopal Ansal and three others in the case related to tampering with the crucial evidence in the 1997 Uphaar fire tragedy case. The Court also ordered to take them into custody.
The Chief Metropolitan Magistrate Court while passing the order also said "After thinking over nights and nights, I have come to the conclusion that they deserve punishment." In the matter, Court had earlier convicted businessmen Sushil Ansal and Gopal Ansal along with their two employees among others in the case related to tampering with the crucial evidence in the 1997 Uphaar fire tragedy case.
The Court had found all accused guilty under sections 409, 201, 120B of IPC and pronounced the order.
Along with Ansal brothers, a court staff Dinesh Chand Sharma and other individuals PP Batra, Har Swaroop Panwar, Anoop Singh, and Dharamvir Malhotra were booked in the tampering of evidence case.
Out of seven accused, two accused Har Swaroop Panwar and Dharamvir Malhotra died during the course of the trial. At least 59 people died of asphyxia and over 100 others were injured in the stampede after fire broke out in Uphaar cinema on June 13, 1997, during the screening of JP Dutta's film 'Border'.