After a two-decade journey for justice, the Supreme Court on Thursday sent real estate baron Gopal Ansal to one year in jail for the Uphaar fire tragedy that killed 59 people in 1997.
In what is considered one of the worst fire tragedies in India over the last few decades, 59 cine-goers died of asphyxia, after being trapped in the balcony of Uphaar theatre, situated in south Delhi’s Green Park area, following the blaze.
Over 100 were injured in the subsequent stampede during the screening of Bollywood film ‘Border’.
In the events that followed, a trial court sentenced Uphaar owners – the Ansal brothers Sushil and Gopal -- to two-year rigorous imprisonment, in 2007. However, in 2008, the Delhi High Court reduced the sentence to one year.
The Supreme Court upheld their conviction in 2015. However, considering their age and the period already spent by them in prison, it decided not to send them back to jail and instead asked the duo to pay a fine of Rs 30 crore each in lieu of a jail term.