The Delhi High Court on Thursday allowed criminal prosecution of Ansal brothers, owners of Uphaar Cinema, for allegedly tampering with evidence in the Uphaar fire case in which 59 people were killed and several others injured 12 years ago.
Justice S Murlidhar dismissed the plea of Gopal and Sushil Ansal and two others who had challenged the trial court order, which had summoned them to appear before it in the tampering case. The court also imposed a cost of Rs 25,000 on them.
Additional Sessions Judge Mamta Sehgal on January 31, 2003, had ordered an inquiry after some documents related to Uphaar case went missing from court record room. After the inquiry, one court staffer was dismissed by the district judge for tampering with the court records on June 25, 2004.
The high court had ordered the police to register a case in this regard on May 5, 2006, and ordered it to complete the investigations within three months.
The police launched an FIR on May 17 and arrested court staffer Dinesh Chandra Sharma. It later filed a chargesheet in the court in which the Ansal brothers and two others were accused of tampering documents.
The additional chief metropolitan magistrate had issued summons to all the accused on February 15, 2008, after which the Ansal brothers had approached the Delhi High Court. The court had stayed the trial court proceedings on April 30, 2008.
At least 59 people died of asphyxia following a fire caused by sparking in a transformer installed in the basement of the cinema hall on June 13, 1999.
The Ansal brothers were sentenced to two years in jail by the trial court. In December last year, the high court modified the trial court order and reduced their sentence to one year jail term for the negligent act.