Amodh Kanth clarifies his role in the Uphaar case

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New Delhi, Nov 24 (UNI) Senior IPS officer Amodh Kanth today said he was the one who got 63 seats removed from the 100 extra seats put up by the Uphaar Cinema Hall in 1979-80, when he was DCP (licencing).

According to Mr Kanth, he remained DCP only for a brief period of one year during 1979-80 and was sore on the manner in which 50 cinema halls in the capital had put up additional seats.

The Association of Uphaar Victims (AVUT) had filed an application in the Court stating that Amodh Kanth, who was DCP in 1979-80, had allowed 37 extra seats in Uphaar cinema's balcony and allowed closure of the gangway, which resulted in the tragedy.

Clarifying the Additional Sessions Judge Mamta Sehgal's order passed in the Uphaar tragedy case, Mr Kanth's Lawyer Rajive Awasthi said the court has directed the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) to investigate the role of all DCPs (licencing) starting from 1979 till the date of the tragedy, in adding extra seats in the balcony of the Uphaar cinema.

Mr Kanth says he was the one who had approached the Lt Governor of Delhi to disallow the extra seats in the cinema halls.

In 1996, the Delhi Goverment had lowered the rates of the entry tickets to the cinema halls. It was then that all the cinema hall owners had approached the Lt Governor to allow some relief to them and asked for permission to increase the seating capacity of the halls to enable them to compensate for the loss of reduced price of tickets.

Mr Kanth says that when he joined as DCP in 1979, he was shocked to see how the cinema halls had added extra seats and turned the cinema halls into gas chambers. He then approached the Lt Governor to allow him to get the seats removed.

He got success as the Lt Governor gave him a nod to make all the halls within the parameters of the safety norms.

Action was taken against the 50 cinema halls including Uphaar, against the water facilites, toilet and parking.

Uphaar had put up 100 extra seats from which Kanth got 67 seats removed, and similar action against other 49 cinema halls in the capital was taken by him.

Against his orders, 42 writ petitions were filed in the Delhi High Court by the Hall owners resulting in an intrim injunction order of the Delhi High Court on August 13, 1979.


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