STATUS OF VARIOUS PENDING CASES
UPHAAR FIRE TRAGEDY: REVIEW PENDING IN THE SUPREME COURT
On 13th June 1997 59 innocent people were killed and over hundred injured in Uphaar cinema fire, one of the worst manmade disaster.
- The initial investigation was handled by Crime Branch of Delhi Police and FIR was lodged u/s 304 (II) IPC and subsequently the investigation was transferred to CBI on 24th July 1997.CBI filed the charge sheet u/s 304A on 15.11.1997 against Sushil and Gopal Ansal .
- The trial in the matter went on for over a decade.
- During course of the trial Ansals tampered with the judicial records thus interfering in the administration of justice. Neither the Presiding officer nor the CBI took cognizance of this. The court just ordered to lead secondary evidence.
- Since the documents tampered were benefitting the Ansals and the fire officer AVUT moved an application for cancellation of their bail. AVUT’s application was rejected on the grounds that the trial was at the fag end. The same was challenged in the High Court. Though High Court did not cancel their bail but directed the Economic Offences Wing of Delhi Police to conduct an investigation.
- FIR was lodged by the EOW on 17.05.2006 and charge sheet was filed on17.01.2008 against 7 accused including Sushil & Gopa Ansal u/s 409/109/201/193/213/120B IPC
- After series of application filed by AVUT in the High Court for expediting the trial, the trial was concluded in the month of August 2007 and the judgement was pronounced on 20.11.2007 Ansals were sentenced for two years u/s 304 A IPC.
- An appeal was filed by all the convicts in the Delhi High Court.AVUT moved an application for enhancement of charge.
- In the meantime AVUT moved an application in the Supreme Court for cancellation of bail of Ansal brothers for violating the bail condition.
- Supreme Court cancelled their bail on 11.09.2008
- The appeal in the High Court was taken up on day to day basis and the judgement was pronounced on 19.12.2008. Though the High Court upheld the findings of the trial court but however the sentence of Ansals was reduced to one year.
- Appeal was filed in the Supreme Court by Ansals for acquittal, cross appeal by CBI for enhancement of sentence and AVUT for enhancement of charge to 304 (II) IPC or Enhancement of sentence to 2 years.
- The matter came up on board in the year 2010, but due to frequent adjournment sought by the councel of convicts the matter finally was taken up in 2012. After prolonged arguments the Supreme Court finally convicted Ansals on 5th March 2014.
- There was dissent among the judges with regard to the sentence, the matter was referred to a three-judge bench.
- The matter was not being listed AVUT moved three applications for early hearing.
- Though the matter was listed three times, twice the adjournment was sought because of non-availability of the senior counsel. However, another adjournment was sought by Jethmalani stating that previous lawyer has ran away and he has been just engaged, which is contrary to the facts. It’s a well-known fact that Jethmalani has been representing Ansals since 1997.
- It took seventeen months after conviction for the matter to be finally heard on 19th August 2015 by the three-judge bench. The operational portion of the judgement is as below:
“For the reasons to be recorded hereafter, we direct that A-1 Sushil Ansal and A-2 Gopal Ansal shall stand sentenced to undergo rigorous imprisonment for two years. However, having regard to advanced age of the accused and other peculiar facts and circumstances, if they pay Rs.30 crores each, i.e. Rs.60 crores, then the sentence will stand reduced to the period already undergone. If they fail to pay the aforestated amount within a period of three 3 months from today, they shall undergo the sentence of two years each, excluding the term which they have already undergone. The aforestated amount shall be given by way of a demand draft to the Chief Secretary of Delhi Government for setting up a new trauma centre or for upgrading the existing trauma centres of hospitals managed by the Government of NCT of Delhi.”
- The court has considered old age and other peculiar circumstances for substituting the jail sentence with money. We only hope the court had taken into account that the trial has taken eighteen years and the reason being innumerable adjournments sought by Ansals with a sole purpose of delaying and derailing the trial. It was AVUT which had sought the intervention of the High Court in the year 2000, 2002 & 2007. It took ten years for the trial to be concluded.
- A Review Petition was filed by AVUT and CBI in the month of October
- The Ansals deposited Rs 30 crore each to the Chief secretary Delhi Government on 9th November 2015. The same has been accepted by the Government.
- Though Supreme Court allowed an open court hearing of the Review Petition on 6th January 2016 it has still not been taken up or scheduled for hearing . Since the matter was not being listed, AVUT mentioned in the court of Hon’ ble Chief justice on 17th March 2016. CJI assured the counsel appearing for AVUT that the review plea would be listed for hearing after the Holi vacation. As the matter was not listed after the Holi vacation AVUT mentioned the matter again on 19th April 2016. The court said it would consult the concerned judges of the bench and explore possibility of listing and hearing the plea during upcoming summer vacation. Unfortunately no orders have been passed.
- STATUS OF MATTER RELATING TO TAMPERING OF EVIDENCE
TAMPERING WITH JUDICIAL RECORDS – PENDING IN CMM’S COURT, PATIALA HOUSE
10.01.2003: CBI files an application regarding missing documents
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 No.207/2006 is lodged by Delhi Police under Sec. 109/193/201/218/409/120B IPC under the directions of the High Court.
22.02.2007: Charge Sheet filed EOW Delhi Police in ACMM‘s Court against court Ahalmad Dinesh Chandra Sharma.
17.01.2008: 2nd Supplementary Charge Sheet filed by EOW Delhi Police and following were arrayed as accused:
- Sushil Ansal 2. Gopal Ansal 3. H S Panwar 4. PP Batra 5. Anoop Singh 6. Col D V Malhotra
15.02.2008: Summons issued by ACMM Patiala House Court
24.02.2008: Revision filed by Sushil Ansal, Gopa Ansal along with two other accused against the Summoning Order in the Hon’ble High Court
03.09.2009: High Court 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.”
26.08.2013: AVUT filed a Criminal Writ Petition in High Court of Delhi with a prayer for expeditious trial. Hon’ble Court has directed the CMM Patiala House Courts to frame the charges or otherwise by 15th May 2014.
25.05.2014: Order reserved on framing of charges
31.05.2014: Charges framed against all seven accused u/s 409/109/201/120B IPC.
Revision has been filed by Sushil Ansal , Gopal Ansal, D V Malhotra & Anoop Singh against the order framing charges in the Sessions Court. The matter was transferred from the Sessions court to the High Court on a Transfer Petition filed by Delhi Police by order dated 02.03.2016.The next date of hearing is 20.07.2016. There is no stay on trial.
Trial is proceeding in the court of CMM Sumit Dass and the first prosecution witness is being examined for the last two years. Next date of hearing is 20.08.2016
- AMOD KANTH: SUMMONED AS AN ACCUSED IN UPHAAR FIRE TRAGEDY CASE. – PENDING IN SUPREME COURT FOR WANT OF SANCTION U/S 197 Cr PC
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.
23.11.2007: The Ld Trial Judge vide its judgement ordered further investigation of the offences in terms of section 173(8) Cr PC.
19.12.2008: The Hon’ble High Court vide its Judgement 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 by 15.03.2009.
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.
03.06.2009: AVUT filed a protest Petition.
12.08.2010: Ld MM of Patiala House Courts summoned Amod Kanth to stand trial for the offence u/s 304A,337,338 IPC and section 14 of the Cinematograph Act.
26.08.2010: Amod Kanth approached the Hon’ble High Court for setting aside the said order on the ground that no sanctions u/s 197 Cr PC has been obtained.
03.10.2013:Hon’ble High Court passed a Judgement in Crl. Misc Petition 2746/10 dismissing the petition of Amod Kanth.
09.11.2013 : Amod Kanth filed an SLP in the Hon’ble Supreme Court against the order of the Delhi High Court.
29.11.2013: Supreme Court granted Stay on the trial proceedings.
The matter likely to come up for hearing in the month of July 2016