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A Delhi court on 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 after which the further course of action would be considered. Chief Metropolitan Magistrate Sumit Dass also asked the accused, Praveen Shankar Sharma and Deepak Kathpalia, who had earlier tendered an “unconditional apology” on a piece of paper to AVUT chairperson Neelam Krishnamoorthy, to publish their apology in the leading newspapers.
The court then posted the matter to August one.
Krishnamoorthy, who lost two minor children in the Uphaar fire tragedy, has been fighting a legal battle on behalf of the victims’ families for the last 20 years. She had alleged in her complaint that she and her husband were harassed by the accused inside the Patiala House court premises on the evening of May 10, 2007. She had gone to the court to attend the trial proceedings in the 1997 fire tragedy case.
Kathpalia and Sharma, then employed by the owners of the Uphaar cinema hall in the national capital, were accused of passing lewd remarks against Krishnamoorthy and taking her photographs. The trial court had earlier taken cognisance of the offence against the four accused, including real estate barons Sushil and Gopal Ansal, under the relevant penal provisions.
Subsequently, the high court had initially stayed the proceedings and then quashed the case against the Ansals.
On February 9, the Supreme Court, on a curative petition, had sentenced Gopal Ansal to jail for a year in connection with the tragedy. However, it had spared 77-year-old Sushil Ansal because of his age. The apex court had also upheld the fine of Rs 30 crore each imposed on the duo and said the money should be utilised for setting up a trauma centre here.
Following this, Gopal had approached the Supreme Court seeking modification of its order on the grounds of parity, saying he was a 69-year-old and would suffer an irreparable damage to his health if sent to prison. The plea was dismissed and Gopal subsequently surrendered before the Tihar Jail authorities on March 20.
Fifty-nine people, trapped in the balcony of the cinema hall in south Delhi, had died of asphyxia following the blaze and over 100 were injured in the subsequent stampede on June 13, 1997 during the screening of Bollywood film ‘Border’.