New Delhi, Aug 19:
In a breather to Ansal brothers Sushil and Gopal, accused in the 1997 Uphaar fire tragedy case, the Supreme Court on Wednesday fined them Rs.30 crore each. They won’t have to return to jail.
The court said the Ansals, the real estate giants, would deposit the fine in three months and this amount would be utilised by the Delhi government.
The fine would be accompanied by the jail sentence the brothers have already undergone for the Uphaar fire tragedy of June 13, 1997 that left 59 people dead.
The apex court bench of Justice Anil R. Dave, Justice Kurian Joseph and Justice Adarsh Kumar Goel passed Wednesday’s order.
It reduced the fine of Rs.50 crore imposed on each of the brothers by Justice Gyan Sudha Misra (since retired) in a split verdict who differed with the verdict of Justice T.S. Thakur.
Sushil Ansal has undergone a sentence of five months and 20 days and Gopal Ansal four months and 20 days.
Though the trial court had awarded them two years sentence each, the Delhi High court reduced it to one year each.
The Ansal brothers owned the Uphaar cinema in south Delhi where 59 people died due to asphyxiation after a fire broke out in the transformer room, emitting toxic gases.
The deaths occurred as people could not escape as the exit doors were closed. There was only one operational exit door.
The apex court bench of Justice Thakur and Justice Misra by their March 5, 2014 verdict, while upholding the conviction of Ansal brothers, differed on the quantum of sentence.
The matter was then referred to a three-judge bench to decide on the quantum of sentence.
Justice Thakur, upholding the Delhi High Court verdict, said the Ansal brothers would undergo a sentence of one year each as awarded by the high court.
Justice Misra, while holding that Ansal brothers deserve “no leniency”, said they should undergo the maximum sentence of two years as provided under Section 304A of the IPC.
Justice Misra substituted the second year sentence with a fine of Rs.100 crore to be divided equally between the two brothers which, she said, would be used for setting up trauma centre in Dwarka.