Uphaar fire tragedy: Ansal’s plea to cross examine witness attempt to delay trial in evidence tampering case, says AVUT

  • | Wednesday | 15th September, 2021

New Delhi, Sep 15 (PTI) The Association of Victims of Uphaar Tragedy (AVUT) Wednesday opposed a plea by real estate baron Sushil Ansal, facing prosecution in a case relating to tampering with the evidence in the main Uphaar fire tragedy matter, seeking to cross examine the investigating officer following change of counsel representing him.AVUT"s counsel said the application was a deliberate attempt to delay the trial and the plea was completely frivolous and vague.Justice Yogesh Khanna heard the arguments and said he would pass order in the case.Ansal’s counsel submitted that the trial court has disposed of his plea under section 311 (power to summon material witness or examine a person present) of the CrPC and said he was seeking one more opportunity to cross examine the investigating officer.During the hearing, senior advocate Vikas Pahwa, representing AVUT chairperson Neelam Krishnamoorthy, argued that the new counsel of the accused has strategically filed an application under section 311 CrPC during final arguments to recall a witness who has already been cross examined extensively.He said due to the delay caused in the trial, the victims of the tragedy had to approach the Delhi High Court several times, to get the charges framed against the accused in 2013 and even to expedite the trial in 2018 so that it is conducted in a time bound manner.“Considering that the Uphaar tragedy happened in 1997, a delay has already been caused and the victims still await justice today in 2021 after 24 years of the incident,” Pahwa submitted.He further argued that while advancement of justice remains prime object of law, the extraordinary provision of section 311 CrPC cannot be utilised to fill a lacuna by recalling a witness for cross examination on the ground that the counsel for accused has been changed.The plea was opposed by Delhi Police which said the trial is at its final stage as the prosecution and defence evidence has already been closed and the lower court is presently hearing final arguments on behalf of the accused.The high court on September 9 had refused to stay the trial in the tampering of witness case.The case relates to tampering with the evidence of the main case in which Sushil and Gopal Ansal were convicted and sentenced to two-year jail term by the Supreme Court.However, the apex court had released them on the period already undergone in the jail on the condition that they pay Rs 30 crore fine each to be used for building a trauma centre in the national capital.The Ansal brothers along with a court staff Dinesh Chand Sharma, and other individuals -- P P Batra, Har Swaroop Panwar, Anoop Singh and Dharamvir Malhotra -- were booked in the present case of allegedly tampering with the evidence.Panwar and Malhotra died during the course of the trial.According to the charge sheet, the documents alleged to have been tampered with included a police memo giving details of recoveries immediately after the incident, Delhi Fire Service records pertaining to repair of transformer installed inside Uphaar, minutes of Managing Director"s meetings and four cheques.Out of the six set of documents, a cheque of Rs 50 lakh, issued by Sushil Ansal to self, and minutes of the MD"s meetings, proved beyond doubt that the two brothers were handling the day-to-day affairs of the theatre at the relevant time, the charge sheet had said.The fire had broken out at the Uphaar cinema during the screening of Hindi film ""Border"" on June 13, 1997 claiming 59 lives.The case was lodged on the direction of the Delhi High Court while hearing a petition by Krishnamoorthy.The accused are charged with offences under sections 120-B (criminal conspiracy), 109 (abetment), 201 (causing disappearance of evidence of offence) and 409 (criminal breach of trust) of the IPC. PTI SKV SA

If You Like This Story, Support NYOOOZ



Your support to NYOOOZ will help us to continue create and publish news for and from smaller cities, which also need equal voice as much as citizens living in bigger cities have through mainstream media organizations.

Stay updated with all the Delhi Latest News headlines here. For more exclusive & live news updates from all around India, stay connected with NYOOOZ.

Related Articles