Staff Reporter

Plea to release theatre to put it to commercial use

NEW DELHI: The Delhi High Court on Wednesday reserved judgment on an application by Ansal Theatre and Clubotels, owning company of Uphaar cinema, seeking release of the theatre to put it to commercial use.

Business loss

Justice H. R. Malhotra reserved the judgment on conclusion of arguments by counsel for the Central Bureau of Investigation and the company.

The application filed by V. K. Saigal, one of the directors of the company, said the hall stood sealed since the fire tragedy, causing an irreparable business loss to them.

He submitted that since the trial of the case was over, the Court should now order its release so that it could be put to a productive use.

CBI opposes

Opposing the application, the CBI contended that it was not maintainable as the applicant had sought release of the hall on behalf of the company, not in his individual capacity.

As many as 59 people, including women and children, were suffocated to death in the fire tragedy while watching the matinee show of the Hindi film “Border” in Uphaar cinema on the afternoon of June 13, 1997.

A trial court here last year had sentenced Gopal Ansal and Sushil Ansal, owners of the cinema hall, to two years’ rigorous imprisonment. It had also convicted 12 other accused in the case, including employees of the Delhi Fire Service and the then Delhi Electric Supply Undertaking (DESU). The High Court is at present hearing arguments on appeals by the convicts against their conviction in the case on a day-to-day basis.