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Verdict on Uphaar case likely tomorrow
September 04, 2007 20:15 IST
A Delhi court is likely to pronounce the much-awaited verdict in the ten-year-old Uphaar case, in which 59 people were trapped and killed when the popular theatre caught fire.
The court is going to decide the fate of the 12 accused, including theatre owners Sushil and Gopal Ansal, who have been charged with causing death by negligence.
The Delhi police had handed over the probe to the Central Bureau of Investigations. Originally, 16 people were named as the accused in the case, but four of them have died in the last ten years.
The trial was expedited after the Delhi High Court directed that it should be concluded by August 2007. The verdict was originally scheduled for August 21, but Additional Sessions Judge Mamta Sehgal reserved it for September 5.
The CBI had examined 115 witnesses, including eight relatives of Ansals who later turned hostile.
The case attracted further attention when a court employee was dismissed from service for tampering with the court documents, allegedly at the behest of the main accused.
The relatives of the victims joined hands to form a body -- Association of Victims of Uphaar Tragedy � to fight the legal battle which even reached the Delhi High Court and the Supreme Court.
The CBI had contended that the hall owners were directly and criminally negligent in the management of the theatre, in which people died of asphyxia as a result of the fire caused by the Delhi Vidyut Board transformer installed on the ground floor.
Ansals had even claimed that they were not the theatre owners and they were coerced by the DVB to allow the installation of the transformer in the theatre premises.
However, the CBI contended that the owners were liable for the tragedy as the emergency safety measures were not in place.
The theatre had turned into a gas chamber as the exit doors of the balcony were closed, and the audience was trapped inside. All the victims dies of asphyxia, said the CBI.