New Delhi: The Supreme Court sentenced Gopal Ansal, one of the prime accused in the Uphaar cinema fire tragedy on Thursday. Moments after the verdict, petitioner Neelam Krishnamoorthy said that she regrets not killing the accused the day the tragedy struck.
“I should have shot these people (Ansal brothers) the day my children died,” Krishnamoorthy, president of the Association of Victims of Uphaar Tragedy (AVUT), told media. Krishnamoorthy’s two teenage children died in the tragedy.
She said she was ‘extremely disappointed’ and that her biggest mistake in life was coming to court. “Rich and powerful enjoy special powers,” she told.
On June 13, 1997, 59 people died due to suffocation after a fire broke out at the Uphaar cinema hall in Green Park in New Delhi. The fire had erupted during a screening of the film ‘Border.’ More than a hundred people were seriously injured in the incident involving stampede and suffocation.
In November that year, the CBI filed a chargesheet against 16 accused including theatre owners Gopal and Sushil Ansal. In August, 2015, the Supreme Court asked the Ansal brothers to go to jail for 2 years if they fail to pay Rs 30 crore each within three months. The brothers paid the compensation but the victims association wanted a harsher punishment.
In its review plea, AVUT had said the apex court judgement “bestows an unwarranted leniency on convicts whose conviction in the most heinous of offences has been upheld by all courts including this court and sentences imposed on them have been substituted with fine without assigning any reason”.
“The sentences of the convicts have been reduced to the period undergone without taking into account the gravity of their offence,” it had said.