Hours after the direction of the Supreme Court, Uphaar theatre owner Gopal Ansal has surrendered at the Tihar Jail in New Delhi.
This comes 20 years after the fire broke out in the Uphaar theatre -- during the screening of the film Border -- that had killed 59 people and injured more than a 100 people on June 13, 1997.
Chief Justice Jagdish Singh Khehar, Justice D.Y. Chandrachud and Justice Sanjay Kishan Kaul said, "Sorry, we can't," as Ansal's counsel Ram Jethmalani urged the court to give a few more days to Ansal to surrender.
Earlier this year, the Supreme Court had reduced 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 owned the Uphaar theatre with his brother Sushil Ansal. While Gopal Ansal has already served four months of his four year sentence which was reduced to a year. He had then been given time of four weeks to surrender.
The verdict was in reply to a petition filed by the CBI and the Association of the Victims of Uphaar Tragedy (AVUT) against the SC's 2015 decision to let go off the Ansal brothers without serving any jail-term. They had to pay a fine of Rs 60 crore.
As this Hindustan Times report points out, the Supreme Court had, in 2014, found the brothers guilty of negligence. It was found that extra seats were added near one of the exits that prevented victims of the tragedy from escaping and they died of asphyxiation.
However, the case was reopened after a plea sought review of its 2015 verdict.
In February, the Supreme Court justices Kurian Joseph and Ranjan Gogoi sentenced Gopal Ansal to one year in prison. The Mint had reported the CBI as saying in the petition that it was a miscarriage of justice since it had not been given enough time to express its views.
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