The Supreme Court on Wednesday upheld the conviction of Sushil Ansal and Gopal Ansal in the 1997 Uphaar cinema tragedy that claimed the lives of 59 people, but referred the question of sentence to a larger Bench following a split verdict.

A Bench of Justices T.S. Thakur and Gyan Sudha Misra passed the order on cross appeals filed by CBI, the Association of Victims of Uphaar Fire Tragedy (AVUT) and Ansals challenging the Delhi High Court order. The trial court had awarded two years’ imprisonment to the Ansal brothers, but it was reduced to one year by the High Court in 2008.

While Justice Thakur upheld the award of one year imprisonment by the Delhi HC, Justice Misra held that the Ansals should undergo a sentence of two years. She substituted the second year sentence with a fine of Rs.100 crore divided equally between the two brothers and said the amount should be used for construction of a trauma care centre and super-speciality hospital. She also directed that in view of his advanced age, Sushil Ansal’s period of sentence will be one that he has already undergone.

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