New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Wednesday imposed a hefty fine of Rs 60 crore on Ansal brothers - Gopal and Sushil – who had been earlier convicted in the 1997 Uphaar fire tragedy case.
The Supreme Court, however, ruled no jail term for the Uphaar cinema hall owners. The fine imposed on them has to be paid within three months. Each of the brothers will have to pay a fine of Rs 30 crore to the Delhi government within three months, the three-judge bench of the apex court ruled.
As per reports, two members of the three-judge bench hearing the case disagreed on the sentencing of the Ansal brothers.
Of the two brothers, Sushil Ansal had served a jail term of 5 months and 22 days and Gopal Ansal, 142 days.
Earlier during the hearing, the apex court said that the case of their conviction in the Uphaar fire tragedy can't be reopened and hearing will remain focussed on their sentencing.
Ansals' lawyer Ram Jethmalani had pleaded before the apex court to argue on facts relating to Ansals' conviction.
The apex court bench, however, asked him to raise it in a review petition later.
On March 5 last year, the Supreme Court had upheld the conviction of Gopal and Sushil Ansal in 1997 Uphaar fire tragedy case.
The Supreme Court then deferred decision on quantum of sentence for Ansal brothers and transferred the case to a three-judge bench.
Earlier, the high court had reduced their sentence from two years to one year whereas the CBI and victims of the fire tragedy had demanded that the Ansals be convicted under more stringent sections.
A total of 59 people died and 100 were injured when there was a big fire at Uphaar cinema hall, in the heart of south Delhi, while a film was being screened on the evening of June 13, 1997. The fire started in the parking lot and then engulfed the building in the busy Green Park area - most people died in the ensuing stampede or were asphyxiated.
In 2003, the Delhi High Court awarded compensation of Rs 18.5 crores to be paid - Rs 18 lakh to the next of kin of each victim above 20 years of age; Rs 15 lakh for victims below 20 years of age; and Rs 1 lakh each to the injured. The court ordered that this be paid with nine percent interest.
With PTI inputs