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Ansals arrested, granted bail, CBI tells apex court

August 29, 2008 21:13 IST

The Central Bureau of Investigation told the Supreme Court on Friday that it has arrested the Ansal brothers--Sushil and Gopal--against whom the court had issued bailable warrants in connection with the Uphaar cinema fire case.

In a brief submission, CBI's senior counsel Harish Salve told a bench of Justices B N Aggarwal and G S Singhvi that the agency had executed bailable warrants against Sushil Ansal on August 23 and against Gopal on August 25. The two were granted bail soon after their arrest.

A fire in the cinema hall on June 13, 1997 had killed 59 people.

According to the CBI, the warrants could not be executed on August 23 against Gopal as he was out of Delhi [Images].

The CBI's submission comes in the wake of the August 13 bailable warrants issued by the apex court against the Ansal brothers and two others.On August 22, the apex court had sought an explanation from the CBI as to why the Ansals were not arrested despite its directions. In pursuance of the order, the CBI furnished an affidavit stating that it has arrested the duo.

On August 13, the apex court while issuing the bailable arrest warrants against the Ansal brothers and two others in the Uphaar Cinema fire tragedy, hinted that it would direct the Delhi High Court to conduct a daily hearing of the appeal pending before it.

A bench of Justices B N Aggarwal and G S Singhvi issued notices to Sushil Ansal, Gopal Ansal and two others Ajit Chowdhary and Nirmal Chopra, both ex-managers of the theatre, "to show cause" as to why the bail granted to them by the Delhi High Court should not be cancelled.

The apex court also minced no words to express its displeasure at the alleged delay in the appeal proceedings pending in the Delhi High Court as pointed out by the Association of Victims of Uphaar Tragedy (AVUT).

"This case has taken 10 years. This can't be treated as an ordinary case. It's a case of criminal negligence. Priority ought to have been given so that people get confidence in the judiciary," the bench had observed. The AVUT had complained to the bench that the appeal proceedings in the High Court were getting repeatedly adjourned on account of the frequent requests of the accused.

The apex court had also asked the AVUT to file details of the number of alleged adjournments sought by the accused in the case along with certified copies of the high court orders and daily court case list pertaining to the appeal.

On November, 20, 2007 the trial court in its judgement convicted Sushil Ansal, Gopal Ansals along with three others under Section 304-A IPC (causing death due to rash and negligent act) and sentenced them to two years imprisonment.
Seven others including Ajit Chowdhary and Nirmal Chopra were convicted under Section 304 IPC(culpable homicide not amounting to murder) and sentenced to seven years imprisonment.

On January 4, this year, the Delhi High Court granted bail to the Ansals and the other two accused while admitting the appeal filed by the accused and the cross appeals filed by the CBI which is seeking enhanced punishment for the accused.

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