The Supreme Court Thursday revisited its 2015 judgement on the Uphaar cinema tragedy case, reducing Gopal Ansal's quantum of punishment to a year. The court allowed Sushil Ansal, 75 years old, to walk free keeping in mind his old age.
Gopal Ansal and his brother Sushil Ansal owned the Uphaar Cinema which saw one of the worst fire tragedies in recent memory on 13 June, 1997 in which fifty-nine people were killed.
The verdict was in reply to a petition filed by the CBI and the Association of the Victims of Uphaar Tragedy against the SC's 2015 decision to let go off the Ansal brothers without serving any jail-term. All they had to do was pay Rs 30 crore each.
Gopal Ansal has already served four months of his four year sentence, and now that the quantum of punishment has been reduced to a year, he only has to serve six months more. He has been asked to surrender within four weeks.
The court's judgment has obviously not gone down with family members of those killed in the tragedy.
A member of the Association of the Victims of Uphaar Tragedy told the Indian Express: "Extremely disappointed, biggest mistake in my life was coming to court. Lost faith in judiciary. Have been let down very badly, a futile exercise. Rich and powerful enjoy special powers."
After the 2015 verdict, Neelam Krishnamoorthy, who lost her two children in the fire and has led the victims' association seeking justice in the case since, had said "Looking back, I think I made a mistake. I should have picked up a gun and shot the culprits, pleaded insanity in court and I might have been out by now. Maybe that would have been justice"
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