In an evidence tampering case linked to the 1997 cinema fire disaster, the Association of Victims of Uphaar Tragedy (AVUT) pleaded before a Delhi Court for life imprisonment for businessmen Sushil Ansal, Gopal Ansal, and others. Senior Lawyer Vikas Pahwa, representing AVUT, told Chief Metropolitan Magistrate Pankaj Sharma that the case illustrates the arrogance of wealthy individuals who believe they are above the law and can obtain redress after committing significant crimes.
He went on to say that the defendants in this case, notably the Ansal brothers, abused their freedom and interfered with evidence after forming a criminal conspiracy with the court employees.
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The Patiala House Court in Delhi had already convicted businessmen Sushil Ansal and Gopal Ansal, as well as two of their employees, in a case involving tampering with critical evidence in the 1997 Uphaar fire disaster.
The Court ruled that all of the defendants were guilty under sections 409, 201, and 120B of the Indian Penal Code and issued the judgement
Along with the Ansal brothers, a court employee Dinesh Chand Sharma and others PP Batra, Har Swaroop Panwar, Anoop Singh, and Dharamvir Malhotra were charged with tampering with evidence. Two of the seven suspects, Har Swaroop Panwar and Dharamvir Malhotra, died during the trial.
The Court had previously ordered that charges be filed against seven people suspected of aiding and abetting an offence, causing evidence to vanish, criminal breach of trust by a public worker, and criminal conspiracy. Sushil and Gopal Ansal had already petitioned the High Court to dismiss the allegations against them for tampering with evidence. Final arguments in the case lasted 40 days in a row. AT Ansari, Public Prosecutor represented the prosecution.
The Association’s members are either people who were hurt in the fire or families of those who were injured or died in the fire