A Delhi court hearing the Uphaar fire tragedy case today allowed the plea of former IPS officer Amod Kanth seeking exemption from personal appearance on account of an ankle fracture.

“The accused is exempted from his personal appearance before this court. He is directed to appear on September 30,” Metropolitan Magistrate Sanjeev Kumar said.

Kanth, who was summoned as an accused after the court had rejected CBI’s probe report giving him a clean chit in the fire case, moved an application through his lawyer R. S. Malik seeking exemption from personal appearance for today only.

“The accused had a fracture in his left ankle on June 16 this year...and has been advised complete bed rest,” the defence lawyer said, adding that he be given four weeks time to recover and appear before the court.

The court had on August 12 rejected CBI’s report giving a clean chit to Kanth in the Uphaar cinema hall fire tragedy, saying there was sufficient evidence to prosecute him for allowing extra seats in the hall where 59 movie-watchers died in a blaze in 1997.

It had said there was sufficient material to prosecute Kanth under section 304A (causing death by rash and negligent act), 337 (causing hurt by an act which endangers human life) and 338 (causing grievous hurt by an act which endangers human life) of IPC.

Earlier, CBI had filed a report after probing the role of Kanth and favoured his non-prosecution.

The agency, in its report, had said there was no witness to the fact that it was Kanth who had allowed the extra seats in the theatre, screening “Border” at the time of incident, for any consideration.

The alleged role of Kanth had come under the scanner when a trial court, while awarding varying jail terms to 12 accused, including theatre owners Sushil and Gopal Ansal in the fire case, had asked CBI to probe his alleged “acts of commission and omission” in allowing the extra seats.