A Delhi court on Friday commenced trial in the alleged tampering of evidence in the 1997 Uphaar cinema fire case, in which Sushil Ansal, Gopal Ansal and five others are facing charges.
The chief metropolitan magistrate commenced trial in the case with the court recording the testimony of prosecution witness Sanjay Kumar Tomar, a fire service officer during the time of the incident. The court concluded the recording of his statement and posted the matter for further proceedings on July 6.
The Delhi High Court had earlier directed police to register a separate case of alleged tampering of evidence on May 5, 2006 — when the trial in the Uphaar tragedy case was under way.
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In the present case, the Delhi court has framed charges against the seven accused for alleged offences punishable under various sections of the IPC, including 120-B (criminal conspiracy) and 201 (destruction of evidence).
Besides main accused Dinesh Chandra Sharma, a sacked record-keeper of the trial court, and the Ansals, the others facing trial are Anoop Singh, Prem Prakash Batra, Harswaroop Panwar and Dharamveer Malhotra. The Ansals, convicted in the main Uphaar fire case, are accused of colluding with others, including a court’s record- keeper, in destroying crucial judicial documents.
According to the chargesheet, documents said to have been tampered with allegedly included a police memo giving details of recoveries made immediately after the incident, Delhi Fire Service records pertaining to repair of transformer installed inside the Uphaar cinema hall, minutes of the managing director’s meetings and four cheques.