Uphaar case: Court to pronounce sentence on Nov 22

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New Delhi, Nov 21: A sessions court, which had convicted 12 people including two Ansal brothers in the Uphaar fire tragedy case yeseterday, today adjourned the pronouncement of quantum of sentence to the convicts in the case as the arguments by the defence remained inconclusive.

Adjourning the hearing of the case till 1000 hrs tomorrow, Additional Sessions Judge Mamta Sehgal said as the arguments of the counsel of two of the 12 convicts could not be completed today they would continue tomorrow.

During the hearing today, the defence counsel, including R K Naseem, Prem Kumar and Ramesh Gupta, put forward various arguments, seeking light punishments, ranging from probation periods to fines, for their clients in view of old age of some of them and the number of dependents in their families. The defence also alleged that it was a trial by the media, which did not project the case in perspective in the public eye.

The defence said as their clients had no criminal precedents and whatever happened was an accident which nobody intentionally caused with any kind of mala fide intentions, the court should be lenient in its approach while sentencing them.

While the defence sought light punishments for their clients, the prosecution asked the court to take all the 12 convicts into custody immediately as their conviction by the court yesterday did not allow them freedom of any kind any longer. But the judge refused to pass any such order, saying as the setencing was only a matter of two-three days, there was no need for it.

All the twelve convicts and the kin of the victims were present in the courtroom during the hearing.

MCD employee Shyam Sunder Sharma, who was convicted under sections 304 A, 337 and 338 of the IPC yesterday, collapsed during the hearing, prompting his lawyer to ask the court to arrange for first aid. But after some time Sharma, who complained of giddiness, regained his composure and the trial resumed.

After the hearing of the case was adjourned till tomorrow, the Ansal brothers, Sushil and Gopal, made a quiet exit from the courtroom, without answering any query from the media.

The kin of the victims said the adjournment was nothing else but the continuation of their agony and anguish, which would do the cause of justice no good.

The trial in the case came to an end yesterday after ten years in which a fire had broke out at Uphaar cinema hall during the matinee show of Hindi movie 'Border', claiming 59 lives and ruining 28 families.

Justice Sehgal had held that theatre owners-the Ansals and two MCD officials, including Sharma and N D Tiwari, and Delhi Fire Service officer H S Panwar were guilty under Section 304A (causing death by rash and negligent act) of the IPC and relevant sections of the Cinematography Act.

Besides them, the court had found Uphaar Cinema Managers Radha Krishna Sharma, Nirmal Chopra, Ajit Chaudhary, gate-keeper Manmohan Uniyal and three Delhi Vidyut Board officials Brij Mohan Satija, A K Ghera and Bir Singh guilty of culpable homicide not amounting to murder under Section 304 of the IPC, entailing maximum punishment of life term.

UNI

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