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Uphaar Tragedy
Victims’ kin in shock as jail term of Ansals cut short

New Delhi, December 19
Real Estate barons Sushil and Gopal Ansal today got away with a lighter one year sentence by the Delhi High Court in the Uphaar fire tragedy that claimed 59 lives, leaving families of the victims who fought a bitter legal battle for over 11 years shocked.

The court took into account “mitigating factors” put forth by the Ansal brothers that they were both of advanced age with no previous criminal records and they were educated, respectable members of the society.

The much-awaited court verdict in which it reduced the two-year sentence imposed on them by the trial court came in for sharp criticism from the victims' families who said they had completely lost faith in the judicial system after fighting the case for 4,206 days.

“The judgement is ridiculous. The verdict is a travesty of justice. People should not come to court if this is the type of judgement one gets,” Neelam Krishnamurthy, convenor of the Association of the Victims of Uphaar Tragedy (AVUT) said.

Delivering the 538-page judgement in a packed courtroom, Justice S. Ravinder Bhat, upheld conviction order of the lower court in November last year against the Ansal brothers, but reduced their sentence from two to one year.

Sushil, 71, and Gopal, 62, are lodged in Tihar Jail since September this year when the apex court cancelled their bail.

The Judge also reduced the jail terms of three electricity and fire department officials and a gatekeeper of the cinema hall while acquitting five other accused.

Voicing discontent over the manner the case was prosecuted, the Judge said there were “glaring lapses” in the licensing department, MCD, Delhi Vidyut Board and others. — PTI



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