New Delhi, Aug 25: Modifying its order, the Supreme Court on Tuesday said real estate barons Ansal brothers will undergo a two-year rigorous jail term in the Uphaar fire case if they fail to pay Rs.30 crore each within three months.
Earlier in its verbal order, the court had on Aug 19 said Sushil (76) and Gopal Ansal (67) should pay a fine of Rs 30 crore each within three months and restricted their jail term to the period already undergone by them in view of their advanced age.
The judgement had received a lot of flak, especially from the association of victims of Uphhar cinema fire tragedy in which 59 people had died 18 years ago.
However, the written order, which was posted on the court's website today, has restored the two-year rigorous jail term awarded by the trial court to the brothers with a condition that the punishment can be reduced to the period already undergone if they would pay Rs 30 crore each within three months.
"For the reasons to be recorded hereafter, we direct that Sushil Ansal and Gopal Ansal shall stand sentenced to undergo rigorous imprisonment for two years.
"However, having regard to advanced age of the accused and other peculiar facts and circumstances, if they pay Rs 30 crores each, i.e. Rs 60 crores, then the sentence will stand reduced to the period already undergone," a bench comprising justices A R Dave,Kurian Joseph and Adarsh Kumar Goel said.
"If they fail to pay the afore-stated amount within a period of three months from today, they shall undergo the sentence of two years each, excluding the term which they have already undergone," it said.
"The afore-stated amount shall be given by way of a demand draft to the Chief Secretary of Delhi Government for setting up a new trauma centre or for upgrading the existing trauma centres of hospitals managed by the Government of NCT of Delhi," the order said.
While Sushil had spent over five months in prison, Gopal was in jail for over four months immediately after the tragedy.
Earlier, a bench of justices T S Thakur and Gyan Sudha Mishra (since retired) had on March 5, 2014, held real estate barons Sushil and Gopal Ansal guilty, but differed on the quantum of sentence to be awarded to them.
Justice Thakur had concurred with the 2008 verdict of the Delhi High Court which had awarded one-year jail term to both Sushil and Gopal Ansal.
However, Justice Mishra had reduced the jail term to the period already served in jail by Sushil considering his age and enhanced the sentence of Gopal to two years.