Uphaar cinema fire: Gopal Ansal moves apex court to reduce jail term

Claiming that he was not given any opportunity to prove his “delicate medical conditions”, Gopal, 69, said that he would suffer irreparable damage to his health if sent back to jail now.

By: Express News Service | New Delhi | Published: February 28, 2017 4:29 am
59 people had died in the Uphaar cinema fire 59 people had died in the Uphaar cinema fire

Contesting the order asking him to serve the remainder of his one-year imprisonment in the 1997 Uphaar fire tragedy case, Gopal Ansal moved the Supreme Court Monday, seeking parity with his elder brother Sushil Ansal, whose term was reduced owing to his age and medical conditions.

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Gopal, stating that his “body and health are more bitter than his elder brother”, filed an application for modification of the court’s February 9 order in which a three-judge bench had asked him to serve the remaining five months of his jail term.

The application stated that his lawyers had the medical reports and that “going back into custody after a period of release is much more painful and tragic than serving out the whole sentence once and for all”.

Claiming that he was not given any opportunity to prove his “delicate medical conditions”, Gopal, 69, said that he would suffer irreparable damage to his health if sent back to jail now.

“The petitioner further submits that he is a victim of a prejudice created in high political circles and the media, which used their influence to have the matter referred by high authority to the CBI,” said the application, adding that Gopal could also show how the entire investigation and the result was without jurisdiction.

Gopal sought an open court hearing and said that his time to surrender should be extended until his application is decided by the bench.

Almost a year after it held that Sushil Ansal was too old to be sentenced to a further jail term, the bench led by Justice Ranjan Gogoi, in the February 9 order, had ordered his younger brother Gopal to serve the remainder of his one-year imprisonment.

By a 2:1 majority, two of the three judges on the bench said Gopal, unlike his elder brother, did not have any age-related medical complications and, hence, he could not be treated on parity with Sushil, who is now 77. The brothers have been held guilty of “criminal negligence” under Section 304-A of the IPC which prescribes two years in jail as the maximum punishment.

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