Uphaar fire tragedy: A timeline of what happened in nearly two-decade long case


A Delhi court Monday awarded seven-year jail terms to real estate barons Sushil and Gopal Ansal for tampering with evidence in the 1997 case of Uphaar cinema fire which had claimed 59 lives.

Chief Metropolitan Magistrate Pankaj Sharma also imposed a fine of Rs 2.25 crore each on the Ansals.

The court also awarded a 7-year-jail term each to former court staff Dinesh Chand Sharma and two others — P P Batra and Anoop Singh and a fine of Rs 3 lakh each on them.

Following is the chronology of events in the 1997 Uphaar cinema fire tragedy case

13 June, 1997: 59 people die of asphyxia in a fire in south Delhis Uphaar cinema during the screening of Hindi movie "Border". Over 100 were injured in subsequent stampede.

22 July, 1997: Uphaar theatre owner Sushil Ansal and his son Pranav arrested in Mumbai.

24 July, 1997: Probe transferred from Delhi Police to Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI).

15 Nov, 1997: CBI files charge sheet against 16 accused including theatre owners Sushil and Gopal Ansal.

10 March, 1999: A sessions court presided by LD Malik initiates trial.

27 Feb, 2001: Court frames charges against accused under various sections, including sections 304 (culpable homicide), 304 A (causing death by negligent act) and 337 (hurt) of the IPC.

23 May: Recording of prosecution witnesses testimony begins.

4 April, 2002: The Delhi High Court asks trial court to try to wrap up the case by 15 December.

27 Jan, 2003: Ansals plea seeking re-possession of the theatre rejected on the ground that place of incident is to be preserved to appreciate evidence.

24 April, 2003: The Delhi High Court awards Rs 180 million compensation to be paid to relatives of victims.

4 Sept, 2004: Court starts recording statements of accused.

5 Nov, 2005: Recording of testimonies of defence witnesses begins.

2 Aug, 2006: Court concludes recording of testimony of defence witnesses.

9 Aug, 2006: Additional Sessions Judge Mamta Sehgal inspects the theatre.

14 Feb, 2007: Accused start advancing final arguments.

21 Aug, 2007: Association of Victims of Uphaar Tragedy (AVUT) approaches the Delhi High Court seeking conclusion of trial within a time frame.

20 Aug, 2007: Senior advocate Harish Salve appears for CBI and advances final arguments.

21 Aug, 2007: Judgement reserved. Court fixes 5 September for pronouncement of verdict.

5 Sep, 2007: Court defers pronouncement of verdict and says it would fix the date of judgement on 22 October.

22 Oct, 2007: Court fixes Nov 20 as date of verdict.

20 Nov, 2007: Court convicts all 12 accused, including Sushil and Gopal Ansal, in the case and sentences them to two years imprisonment.

4 Jan, 2008: Delhi High Court grants bail to Ansal brothers and two other accused.

11 Sep, 2008: Ansals sent to Tihar Jail after Supreme Court cancels their bail.

17 Nov, 2008: Delhi High Court reserves trial court order.

19 Dec, 2008: Delhi High Court upholds trial court order convicting Ansal brothers but reduces their sentence from two years to one year.

2009: Supreme Court issues notice on petition filed by AVUT, a platform of victims’ families, for enhancement of sentence and alteration of charges. CBI too files appeal seeking enhancement

17 April, 2013: Supreme Court reserves order on appeals of Ansals, CBI and AVUT

5 March, 2014: Judges differ on sentence. One judge awards one year, another sentences Ansals to term already undergone. Matter referred to three-judge bench

11 Aug, 2015: Hearing begins on quantum of sentence

19 Aug, 2015: Supreme Court allows Ansals to walk free after paying a fine of Rs 30 crore each

2017: Supreme Court asks Gopal to undergo the remaining one-year jail term while his elder brother Sushil was given relief from incarceration, in view of age-related complications keeping in mind the prison term already served by him.

20 Feb, 2020: Supreme Court dismisses a curative petition filed by an association of the victims

8 Nov, 2021: A Delhi court awarded seven-year jail terms to real estate barons Sushil and Gopal Ansal for tampering with evidence. Court also imposes a fine of Rs 2.5 crore on each of the Ansals.

With inputs from PTI

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Uphaar fire tragedy: A timeline of what happened in nearly two-decade long case
Uphaar fire tragedy: A timeline of what happened in nearly two-decade long case
ASE News
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