An Update on Court cases

STATUS OF VARIOUS CASES PERTAINING TO UPHAAR CASE AS ON JUNE 2011

TAMPERING OF EVIDENCE IN THE UPHAAR FIRE TRAGEDY CASE

The matter regarding tampering of evidence was brought to the knowledge of the Trial Court Judge by the CBI Spl PP on 20.01.2003.The following documents were torn/obliterated/missing:

1. Seizure memo dt 18.7.97 regarding seizure of documents from SS Gupta Addl. GM of M/S Ansal Properties & Industries Ltd which was partly torn.

2. One register i.e occurrence book of control room headquarters DFS.

3. Occurrence Book Register of BCP Fire Station New Delhi.

4. Casual Leave register maintained in DFS Headquarters Pg No. 50 deals with the casual leave status of HS Panwar.

5.Seizure memo dt 27.08 97 and cheque No. 955725 dt 26.06.95 for Rs 50 Lacs drawn on PNB signed by Sushil Ansal in his favour

6.Seizure memo dt 18.08.97 along with cheque No.805578 dt 30.11.96 for Rs 1.50 Lacs drawn on PNB signed by Gopal Ansal in favour of Music Shop & cheque No. 805590 dt 20.02.97 for Rs 2,96,550/- in favour of M/S Chancellor Club signed by Gopal Ansal.

7.Seizure Memo dt 27.08.97 along with Cheque No. 183618 dt 23.5.96 for    9711/- in favour of Chief Engineer Water drawn on Syndicate Bank signed by Gopal Ansal.

8.File containing minutes of MD’s conference of Uphaar Grand containing 1-40 pages, the pgs missing are 1.9.12.14.18&19 are missing it is relevant to note the missing pages being No. 1,.9.& 12 deal with MD’s conference of various dates being meetings /conferences held on 7th May 97 ,2nd April 97 & 1st May 97. Which indicate conferences with regard to the management of Uphaar Grand held under the chairmanship of Gopal Ansal as MD circulated under the signature Major Ajit Choudhary Mgr Administration.

(All the above missing documents   had direct bearing on the culpability of the offences of the three accused persons namely Sushil Ansal, Gopal Ansal & H S Panwar

AVUT moved the Trial Court for cancellation of bail of Sushil & Gopal Ansal but the application was dismissed by the trial Court. AVUT approached the Hon’ble High Court and an order was passed directing the EOW to lodge an FIR  . An FIR No.207 dt 17.5.2006 was lodged u/s 109/409/201/120B IPC and investigation was conducted by EOW Crime Branch Delhi Police. On12.02.2007 Charge Sheet filed by EOW Crime Brach Delhi Police against Dinesh Chandra Sharma Record Keeper in the court of ASJ Patiala House. On17.01.2008 supplementary Charge Sheet Filed by EOW Delhi at the ACMM court Patiala House u/s 109/409/201/120B IPC against Sushil Ansal, Gopal Ansal ,Anoop Singh,PP Batra D V Malhotra & H S Panwar. On15.02.2008 the Ld. ACMM Mr Guhar took cognizance and summoned all the accused. In the month of April 2008 all the accused approached the Hon’ble High Court with a prayer to stay the summoning order of the ACMM.The matter was heard by Hon’ble Justice S Muralidhar and the application of all the accused were dismissed on 3.09.2009 and a cost of Rs 25,000/- was imposed on all the accused. The matter is pending before the Ld ACMM Patiala House Court.The next date of hearing is 8th July 2011 for arguments on framing of charges.

Amod Kanth summoned as an accused in Uphaar Fire Tragdey Case by MM Patiala House Court

On 11.02.2004 AVUT filed an application under section 319 for summoning Jt CP Amod Kanth as an accused for allowing additional seats in the balcony of Uphaar cinema in the year 1979.The addition of the seats allowed by Amod Kanth blocked the gangway on the right hand side of the balcony which was in contravention of rules. He also overlooked the closure of the right hand side exit which was in contravention of rules, which was converted into a family box. The closure of the gangway and the non availability of the exit on the right hand side was the prime cause for the death of 59 innocent lives.On 23.11.2007 the Ld Trial Judge vide sentencing order had observed that there should be further investigation of the offences in terms of section 173(8) Cr PC. On 19.12.2008 The Hon’ble High Court vide its Judgement had  observed that the evidence gathered  and placed before the court showed that there were glaring lapses in the Licensing department, the MCD  and DVB and directed CBI that so far as the directions given by  the Trial Court are concerned CBI shall complete the task in time bound manner and report its conclusions to the trial court by15.03.2009.On 05.03.2009 CBI filed a Closure Report in the court of Ld ASJ stating that no criminal acts were found against any of the officials of any department other than the 16 persons charge sheeted  in the main case. On 03.06.2009 AVUT filed a protest Petition. Ld MM of Patiala House Courts  on 12.08.2010 summoned him to stand trial for the offence u/s 304A,337,338 IPC and section 14 of the Cinematograph Act. Mr. Amod Kanth has approached the Hon’ble High Court for setting aside the said order on the ground that no sanction u/s 197 Cr PC has been obtained. AVUT appealed to the Hon’ble Home Minister Shri. P. Chidambaram in the month of September 2010 to intervene to grant sanction for prosecuting Mr. Amod Kanth as per law failing which justice will continue to elude the victims. The sanction to prosecute Mr. Amod Kanth is still awaited. The next date of hearing is on 18.07.2011 in the Hon’ble High Court and  29.08.2011 for arguments on charge in the Saket Court.

Neelam Krishnamoorthy v/s Sushil Ansal & ors u/s 188,506 & 509 IPC

On a complaint given by Neelam Krishnamoorthy to the Court of Ld. ASJ Ms Mamta Sehgal Patiala House with regard to  staff of Ansal’s who misbehaved and threatened  her in the court premises. The matter was sent to the Administrative Head of the Court Ms Kamini Lau Ld ACMM. The Ld ACMM on the basis of the complain summoned Sushil Ansal,Gopal Ansal,PP Batra and Praveen Sharma u/s  188,506 & 509 IPC on 19.06.2007. All the accused approached the Hon’ble High Court for Ex Parte stay. The same was granted on 3rd July 2007 and the matter is pending for last four years.The next date of hearing is 13.07.2011 in the Hon’ble High Court.

STATUS OF THE CRIMINAL APPEAL PENDING IN HON’BLE SUPREME COURT

SR. NO. ACCUSED CONVICTION & SENTENCE  BY TRIAL COURT (20.11.2007) CONVICTION BY HIGH COURT

(19.12.2008)

1. SUSHIL  ANSAL

Owner ( Uphaar Cinema)

Ss. 304A, 337,338 r/w 36 IPC S.14 OF CA 1952

TWO YEARS

Ss. 304A, 337,338 r/w 36 IPC

S.14 OF CA 1952 .  SENTENCE REDUCED TO ONE YEAR

2. GOPAL ANSAL

Owner ( Uphaar Cinema)

Ss. 304A, 337,338 r/w 36 IPC S.14 OF CA 1952 TWO YEARS Ss. 304A, 337,338 r/w 36 IPC

S.14 OF CA 1952. SENTENCE REDUCED TO ONE YEAR

3. N S Chopra( Manger Uphaar) S.304 r/w 36 IPC ACQUITTED BY HIGH COURT
4. MANMOHAN UNIYAL

(gate Keeper Uphaar)

S.304 r/w,337,338 36 IPC SEVEN YEARS S.304 A,337,338 r/w 36 IPC. SENTENCED FOR TWO YEARS
5. B M Satija

Inspector( DVB)

S.304, r/w 36 IPC

SEVEN YEARS

S.304A ,337,338 r/w 36 IPC. SENTENCED FOR TWO YEARS
6. ANAND KUMAR GERA

Inspector( DVB)

S.304 r/w 36 IPC

SEVEN YEARS

ACQUITTED BY HIGH COURT
7. BIR SINGH

Sr Fitter( DVB)

S.304, r/w 36 IPC

SEVEN YEARS

S.304A ,337,338 r/w 36 IPC. SENTENCED FOR TWO YEAR
8. SHYAM SUNDER SHARMA

Admn. Officer( MCD)

Ss. 304A, 337,338 r/w 36 IPC TWO YEARS ACQUITTED BY HIGH COURT
9. NARAYAN DUTT TIWARI

Admn. Officer(MCD)

Ss. 304A, 337,338 r/w 36 IPC TWO YEARS ACQUITTED BY HIGH COURT
10. HAR SWARUP PANWAR

DO( DFS)

Ss. 304A, 337,338 r/w 36 IPC

TWO YEARS

Sec 304A OF IPC

SENTENCE REDUCED TO ONE YEAR

Note: Out of 16 accused ,6 accused i.e K L Malhotra( DGM Uphaar),R M Puri ( Director Uphaar),Ajit Choudhary ( Asst.Manager Uphaar),S N Dandona ( EE PWD) & Surinder Dutt

( DFS) died during trial and Radha Kishan Sharma ( Manager Uphaar) died  pending appeal in the Supreme Court.

Sushil Ansal, Gopal Ansal, B M Satija, H S Panwar & Bir Singh have filed an appeal against the High order for acquittal, CBI has filed a cross appeal for enhancement of the sentence  and AVUT has filed an appeal against Sushil Ansal & Gopal Ansal  for enhancement of the section from u/s 304(A) to 304.

The Criminal Appeal is listed for final hearing on the 12.07.2011.

(For any further details pls visit our website:www.rememberuphaar.com)

CHRONOLOGY OF CASES—- CRIMINAL,CIVIL  & TAMPERING OF EVIDENCE

SR. NO. ACCUSED CONVICTION & SENTENCE  BY TRIAL COURT ON 20.11.07 CONVICTION BY HIGH COURT ON 19.12.09
1. SUSHIL  ANSAL

A-1

Ss. 304A, 337,338 r/w 36 IPC

S.14 OF CA 1952

TWO YEARS

Ss. 304A, 337,338 r/w 36 IPC

S.14 OF CA 1952 .  SENTENCE REDUCED TO ONE YEAR

2. GOPAL ANSAL

A-2

Ss. 304A, 337,338 r/w 36 IPC

S.14 OF CA 1952

TWO YEARS

Ss. 304A, 337,338 r/w 36 IPC

S.14 OF CA 1952. SENTENCE REDUCED TO ONE YEAR

3. RADHA KRISHAN SHARMA

(MANAGER UPHAAR)

S.304 r/w 36 IPC

SEVEN YEARS

ACQUITTED BY HIGH COURT
4. NIRMAL SINGH CHOPRA ( MANAGER) S.304 r/w 36 IPC

SEVEN YEARS

ACQUITTED BY HIGH COURT
5. MANMOHAN UNIYAL

(GATE KEEPER)

S.304 r/w,337,338 36 IPC

SEVEN YEARS

S.304 A,337,338 r/w 36 IPC. SENTENCED FOR TWO YEARS
6. BRIJ MOHAN

SATIJA  ( DVB)

S.304, r/w 36 IPC

SEVEN YEARS

S.304A ,337,338 r/w 36 IPC. SENTENCED FOR TWO YEARS
7. ANAND KUMAR GERA

(DVB)

S.304 r/w 36 IPC

SEVEN YEARS

ACQUITTED BY HIGH COURT
8. BIR SINGH

(DVB)

S.304, r/w 36 IPC

SEVEN YEARS

S.304A ,337,338 r/w 36 IPC. SENTENCED FOR TWO YEARS
9. SHYAM SUNDER SHARMA  (MCD) Ss. 304A, 337,338 r/w 36 IPC

TWO YEARS

ACQUITTED BY HIGH COURT
10. NARAYAN DUTT TIWARI  (MCD) Ss. 304A, 337,338 r/w 36 IPC

TWO YEARS

ACQUITTED BY HIGH COURT
11. HAR SWARUP PANWAR  (DFS) Ss. 304A, 337,338 r/w 36 IPC

TWO YEARS

Sec 304A OF IPC

SENTENCE REDUCED TO ONE YEAR

NOTE: Out of 16 accused, 5 accused i.e. K L Malhotra ( Mgr Uphaar), R M Puri ( Director Uphaar, Ajit Choudhary ( Asst Mgr Uphaar),S N Dandona ( EE PWD) & Surinder Dutt (DFS ) died during the trial

13.06.1997: Fifty nine people die of Asphyxia and over 100 injured in the worst ever cinema disaster in the country due to fire at Uphaar cinema in New Delhi. The FIR was lodged in the Hauz Khas Police Station. The investigation was handed over to crime branch Delhi Police in the third week of June 1997.

24.07.1997: Case transferred to CBI

15.11.1997: Charge Sheet filed by CBI against 16 accused.

20.11.2007: Judgement of Trial Court convicting all the 12 accused charge sheeted by the CBI

23.11.2007: Order on sentence by the trial court as per the above chart. (All the 12 accused appealed in the High Court against the trial Court order)

10.09.2008: The Hon’ble Supreme Court cancelled the bail granted to Sushil Ansal,Gopal Ansal by the High Court.

19.12.2008: Judgement of the High Court .The High court convicted 6 out of 12 convicted by the trial court.The details are as per the chart above.The Hon ‘ble High Court in Para 9.74 of the Judgement has held as under;

“The most crucial decision of the company which had direct links with deaths of 59 patrons and grevious injury to 100 others,are beyond any question or doubt attributable to Sushil Ansal & Gopal Ansal.Thus:

1. The decision to install a DVB transformer contrary to sanction plan and without the permission or approval of the Licensing Authority and MCD;

2. Absence of Fire safety measures within the transformer room again contrary to regulations;

3.  The Structural Deviations in the cinema hall;

4. Use of several portions of the cinema hall for commercial purposes;

5. Negligent management of parking;

6. The decision taken to completely shut the right side gangway in the balcony,that reduced the number of gangways,correspondingly increased the seats and also crucially blocked the right exit;

7. Failure to ensure proper supervision within the cinema at the time of the show contrary to the mandate of DCR 1953 & 1981;

8. Failure to ensure functioning fire safety  equipment that would have warned patrons to leave the cinema hall immediately upon the outbreak of fire or an emergency and also facilitate their escape through proper lighting ; were directly attributable to the owners and occupiers of this cinema hall.”

30.01.2009:.The Court issued notice on an SLP filed by Association of the Victims of Uphaar Tragedy for enhancement of sentence of Sushil & Gopal Ansal and alteration of charge to 304 IPC.

30.01.2009: The Hon’ble Supreme Court granted bail to Sushil Ansal, Gopal Ansal and

H S Panwar.The court also issued notice on an SLP filed by Ansal’s & H S Panwar  and passed the following order:

“Issue notice on the Special Leave Petition.
 Issue notice also on the question as to why; in the event the provisions of 
Section 304A of the Indian Penal Code are found to be applicable, 
sentence be not enhanced.
In the meantime, the petitioners shall be released on bail on furnishing 
bail bonds in the sum of Rs.10,000/- with two sureties of the like 
amount each to the satisfaction of the trial Court.”

09.04.2009: The Hon’ble Supreme court issued notice on an SLP filed by CBI against all the 11 accused

19.03.2010:  The Hon’ble Supreme court passed order that appeal to be taken up for final disposal on 10.08.2010

BRIEF CHRONOLOGY OF CIVIL CASE

The Association of the Victims of Uphaar Tragedy (AVUT) filed a Civil Writ on 28th July 1997 in the Hon’ble Supreme Court of India against the Government Authorities and the Company & Management of the Cinema. But the same was referred to the High Court.

28. 07.1997:  Civil Writ filed by AVUT in Supreme Court

17.10.1997: Case referred to Delhi High Court as the matter related to the parties

coming under NCT of Delhi.

24.05.1999: The matter is taken up as part heard on day-to-day basis till 8.10.99

29.02.2000: The Writ filed by AVUT is maintained.

24.04.2003: The Judgement was pronounced by the Hon,ble Justice S K Mahajan

and Hon,ble Justice Mukul Mudgul.The total compensation awarded was Approximately

Rs 18.5 Crores.The salient features of the order are as follows:

55% of the total compensation amount to be paid by Ansals

15% each to be paid by DVB, DCP (Licensing) & MCD

Rs 15,00,000 + 9% interest from the date of filing of the writ to the deceased below the age group of 20 yrs

Rs 18,00,000 + 9% interest from the date of filing of the writ to the deceased above the age group of 20 yrs

Rs  1,00,000 for Injured

Rs 2,50,00,000  to be paid by Ansals as Punitive damages to the Union of India  for the purposes of Trauma Centre.

08.09.2003: The DCP (Lic) & MCD file SLP in the Supreme Court and the leave is granted.

28.11.2003 : Ansals file an SLP in the Supreme court and the Apex court  issued notices.

11.10.2004: Leave granted to Ansal Theatre & Clubotels (P) Ltd by the Hon’ble Supreme Court with directions to deposit Rs  3,01,40,000 of which 50 % of the amount deposited to be disbursed to the claimants.

12.05.2009: Directions of the Hon’ble Supreme Court to list the appeals in the month of October 2009 for hearing.

16.12.2009: Judgement reserved by the Hon’ble Supreme Court

BRIEF CHRONOLOGY WITH REGARDS TO TAMPERING OF DOCUMENTS

10.01.2003: CBI files an application regarding missing documents

31.01.2003: ASJ Mamta Sehgal orders for an enquiry after the report submitted

by the concerned court staff confirming the missing documents & allowing secondary

evidence i.e photocopies of the missing documents accompanied by an affidavit from the

concerned I.O.

14.02.2003: Association of the Victims of Uphaar Tragedy file an application

under section 439(2) of code of criminal procedure seeking the cancellation of bail

granted to the accused persons namely Sushil Ansal, Gopal Ansal & H S Panwar with

regards to missing documents from the court records.

29.04.2003: The Ld ASJ Mamta Sehgal  rejects the application of AVUT

pertaining to cancellation of bail observing as under:

“I find that the case is at the fag end and only Investigating officer remains

to be examined so at this fag end it would not be appropriate

to cancel the bail granted to the above three accused persons”

30.05.2003: AVUT filed a criminal Misc. Petition in the Delhi High Court,

against the trial court order dt 29.04.03 for cancellation of bail with regard to tampering

of evidence against Sushil Ansal, Gopal Ansal & H S Panwar under u/s 482 R/W section

439 (2) of code of criminal procedure.

25.062004: The Ahalmad of the Court dismissed by the district judge for

tampering with the court records.

07.03.2006: AVUT files a Crl.Misc. Application in Crl. Misc (Main Petition

No. 2380/2003 in the Hon’ble High Court under section 482 of the code of criminal

Procedure praying for directions for registration of a criminal case against offenders for

tampering with documents in the court custody.

05.05.2006:The Hon’ble High Court passed following order:

“Delhi Police is called upon to register a case under appropriate provision of law in regard to the incident of removal/tampering with/ mutilation of the documents from the judicial records of the trial court. After the registration of the FIR, investigation shall be entrusted to an officer not below the rank of ACP who will conduct the investigation expeditiously and endeavor to conclude the same within a period three months from the date of this order. A status report shall be filed by the investigating agency before the next date of hearing i.e. 8th August 2006.”

17.05.2006: An FIR is lodged by Delhi Police under Sec.

109/193/201/218/409/120B IPC under the directions of the High Court.

22.11.2006: Dinesh Chandra Sharma ( Court Ahalmad) arrested and sent police

remand. He was remanded for eight days.

22.02.2007: Charge Sheet filed EOW Delhi Police in ACMM‘s Court.

23.05.2007: Supplementary Charge Sheet  filed enclosing GEQD Report of the

documents seized from A Plus Security Agency

17.01.2008: 2nd Charge Sheet filed by EOW Delhi Police and following were arrayed as

accused

Sushil Ansal , Gopal Ansal, H S Panwar, PP Batra , Anoop Singh, Col D V Malhotra

15.02.2008: Summons issued by ACMM Patiala House Court

24.02.2008: Sushil Ansal files revision against the Summoning Order in the Hon’ble

High Court ( No Stay)

28.04.2008: Gopal Ansal  filed petition to be listed along with Crl Rev. 224/08 of Sushil

Ansal

07.01.2009: Arguments commenced in the Court of Hon’ble Justice S Murlidhar.

20.03.2009: Arguments concluded. Order reserved

03.09.2010:  Hon’ble Justice Murlidhar dismissed all the Petitions with following directions

“This Court does not find merit in any of the petitions. Each of the petitions is accordingly dismissed with cost of Rs.25,000/-. These costs will be paid to the State within a period of four weeks from today. The interim orders stand vacated. The pending applications are dismissed. The trial court records be returned to the concerned court forthwith together with a certified copy of this order.”

23.04.2010: Sushil & Gopal Ansal surrender in the court of ACMM. Bail granted with bail bond of Rs 1 Lac and surety of tha same amount.

17.05.2010: Documents supplied to all the accused and the matter to come up 11.08.2010

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