A file photo of rescue operations at Delhi’s Uphaar Cinema in 1997. (Photo: Reuters)
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Uphaar Cinema Fire: Gopal Ansal Surrenders 20 Years After Tragedy

Real estate magnate Gopal Ansal surrendered on Monday evening before Tihar jail authorities to undergo a one-year sentence in the Uphaar Cinema tragedy that took place on 13 June 1997.

His surrender comes after a prolonged legal battle and 20 years after the tragedy that had left 59 people dead and over 100 people injured in the subsequent stampede.

Ansal, 69, surrendered on Monday after the rejection of multiple requests for relief from jail time citing his age.

Ansal surrendered around 5 pm. He is currently lodged in the hospital in jail number 3 as he complained of some health issues.
Tihar Jail Official

Earlier on Monday, the Supreme Court had declined any relief to Ansal and asked him to surrender by evening to undergo the jail term in case.

A bench comprising Chief Justice JS Khehar and Justices DY Chandrachud and SK Kaul rejected the plea moved by the real estate baron seeking more time to surrender on the ground that he has moved a mercy plea before the President.

"Sorry, we can't," the bench said when senior advocate Ram Jethmalani brought up the clemency plea and sought more time.

Ansal was in jail earlier for around four-and-a-half-months in connection with the case.

On 27 February 2001, the Supreme Court had framed charges against the accused – culpable homicide, causing hurt and causing death by negligent act – under various sections of the Indian Penal Code.

On 5 March 2014, a two-judge bench of the apex court had held the accused, Gopal Ansal and his brother Sushil Ansal, guilty.

In 2015, the Supreme Court had let off the the Ansal brothers with a Rs 60 crore fine, to be given to the Delhi government towards the setting up of a trauma centre. The verdict was met with widespread public outcry.

Later, on 9 February this year, an apex court bench headed by Justice Gogoi, in a 2:1 majority verdict, had granted relief to 76-year-old Sushil Ansal considering age-related complications by awarding him the jail term already undergone and had asked Gopal Ansal to surrender in four weeks to serve the remaining jail term.

Gopal Ansal had thereafter approached the apex court seeking modification of its order, on the grounds that he was 69 years old and would suffer irreparable damage to his health if sent to prison.

(With inputs from media agencies.)