The Supreme Court on Tuesday sought responses from real estate barons Sushil Ansal and Gopal Ansal on pleas of the CBI and the victims’ body seeking review of the 2015 verdict in the Uphaar fire tragedy case asking them to serve a two-year jail term if they fail to pay Rs 30 crore each as fine. A three-judge bench headed by Justice Ranjan Gogoi, which fixed the review pleas for open court hearing on December 14, also extended the order restraining the Ansal brothers from leaving India till disposal of the petitions.
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“We issue notice and will hear the review petitions on next Wednesday. In the meantime, we direct you (Sushil and Gopal Ansal) not to leave the country till disposal of review petitions,” the bench, also comprising Justices Kurian Joseph and Adarsh Kumar Goel, said. Senior advocate Harish Salve, representing CBI, said that “the issue is on narrow compass” and the notices can be issued to the respondents on both the review petitions filed by the agency and Association of Victims of Uphaar Tragedy (AVUT).
Senior lawyer Salman Khurshid, appearing for the Ansal brothers, accepted notices and sought some time to prepare his responses to the review pleas saying “we do not know what are the grounds in them.” He also assured the bench on behalf of Ansals that they will not leave the country till disposal of the review pleas.
AVUT, represented by another senior lawyer K T S Tulsi, said it was ready for advancing arguments and should be granted adequate time on December 14 when the pleas are heard. The bench said it would try to conclude the hearing on next date itself.
On Monday, the apex court had restrained Sushil and Gopal Ansal from leaving the country till listing of the review plea of AVUT which, citing a media report, had apprehended that they may flee. 59 people had died of asphyxia when a fire broke out during the screening of Bollywood movie ‘Border’ in Uphaar theatre in Green Park area of South Delhi on June 13, 1997. Over 100 were also injured in the subsequent stampede.