The Delhi High Court has asked the Delhi Police Crime Branch to lodge an FIR against its officials, who in 2013 had certified that real estate baron Sushil Ansal has never travelled abroad and that no criminal case was pending against him, which led to issuance of a travel document to the convict.
Sushil and his brother Gopal Ansal were convicted for the 1997 Uphaar cinema fire incident that claimed 59 lives. Last year, the Supreme Court asked Gopal to undergo the remaining one-year jail term in the case. In view of age-related complications, his elder brother Sushil got relief from incarceration, keeping in mind the prison term already served by him.
Justice Najmi Waziri said Sushil misled the central government and misrepresented his conviction on oath, when he applied for a passport in 2013 under tatkaal scheme. The judge added that appropriate proceedings “would be warranted”. Issuing the directions on December 17, the court said that Sushil availed the benefit and specifically deposed on an affidavit that he had never been punished by any criminal court for an offence.
“This is in the face of his conviction in 2007, the sentence of punishment was reduced to one year in 2008, which was further reduced by the Supreme Court in 2014. When Sushil filed the affidavit, he ought to have made it clear to the government that he had indeed been convicted for at least one year by this court.
“When Sushil applied through tatkaal scheme, he should have given information as required. Sushil has not only misled the Government of India, but has misrepresented on oath. Appropriate proceedings against him would be warranted,” the court observed.
The HC was hearing a plea moved by the Association of Victims of Uphaar Tragedy, through its chairperson Neelam Krishnamoorthy, who has sought a CBI probe into the alleged criminal misconduct by passport and police officials.
The court asked the Ministry of External Affairs to carry out an inquiry against the passport officers who issued the travel document to Sushil in 2000, 2004, 2013 and 2018, and to submit a report within four weeks.