Staff Reporter

"Evidence of illegal structural changes in the cinema hall"

  • As many as 59 persons were asphyxiated to death inside the cinema hall
  • `Besides Gopal Ansal and Sushil Ansal, two MCD officers should also be charged'

    NEW DELHI: The Central Bureau of Investigation on Thursday submitted before a Delhi court that Gopal Ansal and Sushil Ansal, owners of Uphaar cinema hall, should be charged under Section 304-II of the Indian Penal Code in the Uphaar fire tragedy case. The section pertains to "culpable homicide not amounting to murder if the act is done with the knowledge that it is likely to cause death but without any intention to cause death''.

    As many as 59 persons were asphyxiated to death inside the cinema hall while watching the matinee show of the film "Border'' when a fire broke out in the transformers installed in the basement of the hall on June 13, 1997.

    Concluding his submission on the final arguments in the case, former Solicitor-General Harish Salve appearing for the CBI said that there was evidence on record showing that the two accused had knowledge about the illegal structural changes that had been made in the building and which had blocked the lone exit on the right side of the balcony. He submitted that it was Sushil Ansal who had given permission to the then Delhi Electric Supply Undertaking (DESU) to install its transformer in the basement for power supply to the residents of Green Park Extension and the tenants in the hall premises.

    He further submitted that Sushil Ansal was the representative licensee of the hall, and the change of its name from Green Park Theatre to Ansal Clubotels Private Limited in 1973 was also done with his permission.

    Besides Gopal Ansal and Sushil Ansal, Mr. Salve said, N.D.Tewari and S.S.Sharma, former Administrative Officers of the Municipal Corporation of Delhi (MCD), and H.S.Panwar (Retd.) of the Delhi Fire Service should also be charged under Section 304-II of IPC as the civic officers had unauthorisedly given permission for issuing a cinematograph licence to the hall from the structural point of view and Panwar had given NoCs for fire safety when he was on casual leave ignoring the improper fire safety arrangements in the hall.