New Delhi, Dec 19: The Delhi High Court on Friday, Dec 19 upheld the trial court verdict holding real estate tycoon brothers Gopal and Sushil Ansal accused, but reduced the jail term from two years to one year. The tycoons were guilty of criminal negligence in the 1997 Uphaar cinema fire that claimed 59 lives.
Ruling on a review petition, Justice Ravinder Bhatt rejected their appeal and said the Ansal brothers failed to provide safety for visitors to the south Delhi cinema hall that they owned.
"Corporate social responsibility cannot be ignored while keeping in mind the security of the people," Bhatt said while reducing their sentence from two years to one year.
The court acquitted senior manager of the theatre Nirmal Chopra and assistant manager R K Sharma, who had been sentenced to seven years imprisonment.
Neelam Krishnamurthy, who lost two children in the fire, said: "I am shocked and stunned that the quantum of sentence has been reduced".
On the afternoon of June 13, 1997, 59 people, including several women and children, were killed due to asphyxia in the fire that broke out in the south Delhi cinema hall's transformer in the basement during the screening of the Hindi film "Border".
On Nov 20 2007, a trial court held the Ansal brothers guilty along with three others under Section 304-A of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) (causing death due to rash and negligent act) and sentenced them to two years imprisonment.