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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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Pollution Severe In Delhi In Spite Of Odd-Even Scheme: SC

SC says despite odd-even scheme, pollution in Delhi became severe

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Odd-Even scheme
In spite of Odd-Even vehicle rationing scheme, pollution has reached a severe level. Pixabay

The Supreme Court on Friday said in spite of Odd-Even vehicle rationing scheme, pollution has reached a severe level, and again called the Chief Secretaries of Delhi, Punjab, Harayana and Uttar Pradesh, to report on measures taken to curb air pollution particularly related to stubble burning.

A bench headed by Justice Arun Mishra said, “Do not give exemption to two-wheelers, and it will work.”

During the hearing, the judges scrutinized the Odd-Even scheme of the Delhi government in respect of air quality index data gathered in the past two years. The judges queried the Delhi government counsel, senior advocate Mukul Rohtagi, what purpose the scheme served by keeping out cars which contribute mere three per cent of the total pollution.

Odd-even scheme in Delhi
The court observed the data presented by the authorities suggest the Odd-Even scheme had hardly any effect on improving air quality. Pixabay

The court observed that Delhi’s local pollution is a major problem, if stubble burning which contributes 40 per cent is kept out.

“According to the authorities, stubble burning has reduced to somewhere near five per cent now…we are concerned about Delhi’s local air pollution. What is the government doing?”

The court observed the data presented by the authorities suggest the Odd-Eeven scheme had hardly any effect on improving air quality. “Question is what are you gaining by this scheme?” observed the court.

Also Read- Pollution Problem in Delhi Likely to Influence Upcoming Delhi Assembly Polls

Further commenting on the social aspect of the Odd-Even scheme, the court said “Odd-Even will only affect the lower middle class but not the affluent ones since they have multiple cars… Odd-Even isn’t a solution, but public transport could be. But nothing has been done about that”, said the court.

The hearing on the matter will continue on November 25. (IANS)