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CBI probe ordered into Uphaar cinema fire

The Union home ministry on Wednesday ordered a Central Bureau of Investigation probe into the Uphaar cinema hall fire in which 59 people were killed on June 13.

The order comes in the wake of the indictment of the Delhi police, the electricity department, fire brigade and theatre management in the inquiry report of the Delhi government's Deputy Commissioner Naresh Kumar and the victims' complaints about a cover-up to protect the guilty.

The home ministry directed the CBI to take immediate possession of all relevant files from the Delhi police which has been inquiring into the June 13 incident during the screening of the movie Border.

The victims had called on Chief Minister Sahib Singh Verma only on Tuesday, complaining that the administration was taking ''half-hearted'' measures in an apparent attempt at a ''full-scale cover-up operation.''

The Delhi police has already arrested owner Sushil Ansal, his son Pranav and company director V K Aggarwal. They have been remanded to 14 days' judicial custody and sent to Tihar jail. They were produced before Metropolitan Magistrate O P Gupta on Wednesday afternoon. He remanded them to judicial custody.

Sushil and Pranav Ansal were arrested on Tuesday by the Delhi police from a flat belonging to Pranav's in-laws at Worli in central Bombay and taken to Delhi. Aggarwal was arrested from his home in Delhi. The Delhi police located Sushil Ansal's whereabouts after tapping his phone.

Justice Gupta had on Monday issued non-bailable warrants against Sushil Ansal, his brother Gopal, a Delhi Vidyut Board inspector and two fire service officials. Gopal Ansal is still absconding.

The police said Sushil Ansal, his wife and son Pranav fled Delhi soon after Subash Verma, one of the directors of the Uphaar cinema, was arrested.

The Delhi police raided many five star hotels, guest houses and hospitals in Delhi in search of the Ansals. The police said the Ansals had gone to Jaipur and after staying in a hotel there for a few days, they left for Bombay.

Sushil Ansal has business dealings in Bombay as well. After staying with their relatives for some time, the Ansals shifted to a flat owned by Pranav's in-laws at Worli. Sushil and Pranav have been charged for evading arrest besides the Uphaar tragedy case.

The police said Sushil Ansal had prepared some forged documents which said that his son Pranav had resigned as the theatre's director on March 28, much before the Uphaar tragedy. However, the documents were submitted on June 16. A case under section 201 of the IPC for destroying evidence has also been slapped on Sushil Ansal.


60 feared killed in Delhi fire
The audience thought the smoke was part of the special effects
Cinema fire one of the worst in Indian history
Transformer had caught fire in the morning too
Fire raises fears that many Delhi movie halls ignore safety norms
Fire raises fears that many Delhi movie halls ignore safety norms

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