SC dismisses Gopal Ansal’s plea, asks him to serve jail term

New Delhi: Real estate baron Gopal Ansal will have to surrender to serve the remaining period of the one-year sentence in the Uphaar fire tragedy case with the Supreme Court on Thursday, dismissing his plea for parity with his elder brother Sushil Ansal.

“The appeal filed by Gopal Ansal is dismissed,” a three- judge bench headed by Justice Ranjan Gogoi said. Justice Gogoi, in a 2:1 majority verdict on February 9, had granted relief to 76-year-old Sushil Ansal considering age-related complications by awarding him jail term already undergone and had asked Gopal to surrender in four weeks to serve the remaining jail term.

Gopal had thereafter filed a plea in the apex court seeking modification of its order on the grounds of parity, saying he was 69 years old and would suffer irreparable damage to his health if sent to prison.

After the bench, also comprising Justices Kurian Joseph and Adarsh Kumar Goel, dismissed the plea, senior advocate Ram Jethmalani representing Gopal Ansal told the court that as per the February 9 order, Gopal was to surrender to serve the remaining jail term within four weeks, which is expiring on Thursday.

Jethmalani told the bench that Gopal Ansal be given some time to surrender.

“Gopal Ansal will surrender to serve the rest of the sentence as imposed on him on March 20,” the bench said. 59 persons had died in the Uphaar cinema during the screening of Hindi movie ‘Border’ on June 13, 1997.

Earlier, the Association of Victims of Uphaar Tragedy (AVUT) moved the apex court seeking modification of the order sentencing Sushil Ansal to the period already undergone by him in jail in the case.

In its application, Neelam Krishnamoorthy-led AVUT has said both Sushil and Gopal Ansal are healthy and should be sent to jail to serve the remaining sentence in the case.

“No evidence or material was ever placed on record, either in the course of the appeals or the review petitions, by Sushil Ansal that suggests that he is having any medical complication(s),” the association has said in its application.

The victims’ have also opposed Gopal Ansal’s plea, saying the review pleas of CBI and AVUT have already been decided and “there cannot be a review of the review judgement”.