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HC dismisses AVUT plea, orders probe

Written by: Staff
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New Delhi, May 5 (UNI) The Delhi High Court today dismissed the AVUT (Association of Victims of Uphaar Tragedy) petition seeking cancellation of the bails to Sushil Ansal, Gopal Ansal and HS Panwar for allegedly tampering with the evidence produced before the trial court.

The court also directed the Special Branch of Police, headed by Assistant Commissioner of Police, to register an FIR and complete within three months a probe into the alleged removal/tampering with/mutilation of evidences produced before the trial court. The AVUT had moved the High Court on April 18 to reject bails of Sushil Ansal, Gopal Ansal and HS Panwar for allegedly tampering with evidence produced before the trial court.

Justice RC Jain observed that the investigating agency shall file a status report before the next date of hearing.

He observed, ''the court would be failing in its duty if it didn't exercise its inherent jurisdiction and order registration of an FIR and investigation into this serious episode which has seriously affected the administration of justice and undermined the majesty of Rule of Law.'' At the same time Justice RC Jain spared the accused of cessation of bails.

''Assuming that the accused persons were in any way responsible for the tampering with the evidence, much water has flown since then in as much as the documents have been reconstructed and the secondary evidence has been laid. The prosecution evidence has been concluded,'' Justice Jain said.

''At least at this stage there seems to be no risk of tampering with the record of the case. Therefore in totality, it will not be conducive and expedient in the interest of justice to withdraw the said concession of bail at this stage,'' he observed.

Additional Solicitor General PP Malhotra represented the CBI and senior counsel KTS Tulsi appeared for AVUT.

Senior counsel Altaf Ahmad and RK Naseem represented Sushil Ansal and Gopal Ansal respectively while senior counsel RP Lao argued for HS Panwar.

The trial court had framed charges against 16 accused, including proprietors of Ansals properties Sushil Ansal and Gopal Ansal, for their alleged involvement in the Uphaar fire tragedy on June 13, 1997 in which 59 people were killed and more than 100 injured.

The other accused in the case include PWD engineer S N Dandona, cinema hall director R M Puri, cinema hall managers K L Malhotra, R K Sharma, N S Chopra and Ajit Chaudhary, DVB officials A K Gera, B M Satija and Beer Singh, MCD officials N D Tiwari and Shyam Sunder Sharma, Delhi Fire Service officials H S Panwar and Surinder Dutt, besides balcony usher Manmohan Unniyal.

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