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Uphaar Tragedy: Ansal brothers fined Rs 60 crores

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By NewsGram Staff Writer

Ansal brothers got a respite from being sent to jail when the Supreme Court gave its verdict charging them with Rs 60 crores. The Ansal brothers- Gopal and Sushil, were found guilty in the Uphaar Cinema Fire Tragedy of 1997. The amount has to be paid in next three months. The court also slapped a fine of Rs 10 lakhs on the concerned fire officer of the theater.

The Supreme Court said that the money would be given to the Delhi government, and it is to be decided later what is to be done with it. Gopal and Sushil were convicted in 2014. Each of the brothers will have to pay a fine of Rs. 30 crores to the Delhi government within three months, the three-judge bench of the apex court said.

Earlier during the hearing, the Court said that the case of the Uphaar fire tragedy can’t be reopened and the hearing will remain focused on the sentencing of Ansal brothers.

Ansals’ lawyer Ram Jethmalani had pleaded before the apex court to argue on facts relating to the brothers’ conviction. The apex court bench, however, asked him to raise it in a review petition later.

On March 5, 2014, the apex court had upheld the conviction of Gopal and Sushil Ansal in 1997 Uphaar fire tragedy case. The Supreme Court then transferred the case to a three-judge bench.

indian express
credits: Indian Express

Earlier, the panel of judges had reduced the sentence from two years to one year whereas the victims and the families of the deceased had demanded that the Ansals be convicted under more severe sections.

59 people had died and 100 were injured when a big fire broke out at Uphaar cinema hall in South Delhi, while the film Border was being screened on the evening of June 13, 1997. The fire started in the parking lot, spread and catapulted all over the place and finally engulfed the cinema building- most people died in the subsequent stampede and also due to the asphyxia.

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Another Deadline Missed, No Draft Scheme on the Cauvery Dispute Till Now

On the expiry of the six-week deadline, the Centre sought extension of time till the completion of the electoral process in Karnata for submission of the Scheme.

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The court said that even if the Centre has not framed the scheme, Karnataka, under the Cauvery Water Dispute Tribunal award, was obliged to make monthly releases to Tamil Nadu.
Supreme Court of India. Wikimedia commons

The Centre yet again failed to submit a draft Scheme on the Cauvery river water dispute before the Supreme Court on the ground that the Prime Minister and other ministers were campaigning in Karnataka, which Tamil Nadu flayed as “brazen partisanship”.

Seeking 10 more days to finalize the scheme, Attorney General K.K. Venugopal told Chief Justice Dipak Misra, Justice A.M. Khanwilkar and Justice D.Y. Chandrachud: “A draft scheme has been placed before the Cabinet. Because of Karnataka elections, the Prime Minister and all other Ministers are in Karnataka. Before that the Prime Minister was abroad (in China).”

It also sought response from the Centre on the steps taken by it since the pronouncing of the judgement for putting in place a scheme for implementing its order on the sharing of Cauvery water among Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Kerala and Puducherry.
Parliament of India, wikimedia commons

The Centre’s submission was countered strongly by senior counsel Shekhar Naphade, appearing for Tamil Nadu, who said: “Sorry to say, the Central government is politicizing the issue. They are worried about their electoral fate in Karnataka. Election in Karnataka is on May 12 and somehow they don’t want to do it till then. We have enough of it. It is brazen partisanship of the Union of India. It is the end of co-operative federalism.”

The apex court in its February 16 judgement had directed the Centre to frame a Scheme within six months in accordance with the recommendation by the Cauvery River Water Tribunal for constitution of the Cauvery Management Board (CMB) and Cauvery Regulatory Authority (CRA), which Karnataka opposes strongly.

On the expiry of the six-week deadline, the Centre sought extension of time till the completion of the electoral process in Karnata for submission of the Scheme. Tamil Nadu filed a contempt petition against the Centre for failure to act within the deadline.

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During Thursday’s hearing, the court directed the Karnataka government to respond on how much of the four TMC of water it can release by month end. It also sought response from the Centre on the steps taken by it since the pronouncing of the judgement for putting in place a scheme for implementing its order on the sharing of Cauvery water among Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Kerala and Puducherry.

In the course of the hearing, the court asked Karnataka to release 4 TMC of water by Monday.

The court said that even if the Centre has not framed the scheme, Karnataka, under the Cauvery Water Dispute Tribunal award, was obliged to make monthly releases to Tamil Nadu.

The court directed the next hearing of the matter on Tuesday. (IANS)

 

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