A Delhi court Saturday directed two men, accused of threatening the chairperson of the Association of Victims of Uphaar Tragedy (AVUT) in 2007, to file their apology in a “proper manner” in leading newspapers — a month after both men apologised on a piece of paper. The court has set the next date of hearing, August 1, to decide on the further course of action. Both the accused, Praveen Shankar Sharma and Deepak Kathpalia, had allegedly harassed AVUT chairperson Neelam Krishnamoorthy and her husband in the Patiala Court House premises on May 10, 2007. Krishnamoorthy, who lost two children in the 1997 Uphaar cinema fire, had gone to court to attend the trial proceedings in the case.
Kathpalia and Sharma, then employed by owners of the Uphaar cinema hall in the capital, were accused of passing lewd remarks against Krishnamoorthy and taking her photographs. In their letter dated May 5, 2017, the duo had written that they “tender an unconditional apology to Neelam Krishnamoorthy ji, if through any of my activities, have ever, unknowingly hurt her feelings”. But Chief Metropolitan Magistrate Sumit Dass asked the accused to also publish their apology in leading newspapers in a “proper manner”.
Krishnamoorthy, who has been fighting a legal battle on behalf of the victims’ families for the last 20 years, said, “The earlier apology was completely vague as it did not mention what they had done. So the court had asked them to tender an apology in a proper manner.” Senior counsel for AVUT, Vikas Pahwa, said the apology tendered earlier was a complete “eyewash”. The trial court had earlier taken cognizance of the offence against the four accused, including Sushil and Gopal Ansal. Subsequently, the High Court had initially stayed the proceedings and then quashed the case against the Ansals.