Chronology of Uphaar Fire Tragedy

Chronology of Uphaar Fire Tragedy

59 people were killed in a fire in Uphaar Cinema in Delhi in 1997

New Delhi: Following is the chronology of events in the 1997 Uphaar fire tragedy case in which the Supreme Court today allowed industrialists Sushil and Gopal Ansal to walk free and asked them to deposit a fine of Rs 30 crore each in three months:

June 13, 1997: 59 people die of asphyxia in a fire in south Delhi's Uphaar cinema during the screening of Hindi movie "Border". Over 100 were injured in subsequent stampede.

July 22: Uphaar theatre owner Sushil Ansal and his son Pranav arrested in Mumbai.

July 24: Probe transferred from Delhi Police to Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI).

November 15: CBI files charge sheet against 16 accused including theatre owners Sushil and Gopal Ansal.

March 10, 1999: A sessions court presided by LD Malik initiates trial.

February 27, 2001: Court frames charges against accused under various sections, including sections 304 (culpable homicide), 304 A (causing death by negligent act) and 337 (hurt) of the IPC.

May 23: Recording of prosecution witnesses' testimony begins.

April 4, 2002: Delhi High Court asks trial court to try to wrap up the case by December 15.

January 27, 2003: Ansals' plea seeking re-possession of the theatre rejected on the ground that place of incident is to be preserved to appreciate evidence.

April 24: Delhi High Court awards Rs 180 million compensation to be paid to relatives of victims.

September 4, 2004: Court starts recording statements of accused.

November 5, 2005: Recording of testimonies of defence witnesses begins.

August 2, 2006: Court concludes recording of testimony of defence witnesses.

August 9: Additional Sessions Judge Mamta Sehgal inspects the theatre.

February 14, 2007: Accused start advancing final arguments.

August 21: Association of Victims of Uphaar Tragedy (AVUT) approaches Delhi High Court seeking conclusion of trial within a time frame.

August 20, 2007: Senior advocate Harish Salve appears for CBI and advances final arguments.

August 21: Judgement reserved. Court fixes September 5 for pronouncement of verdict.

September 5: Court defers pronouncement of verdict and says it would fix the date of judgement on October 22.

October 22: Court fixes November 20 as date of verdict.

November 20, 2007: Court convicts all 12 accused, including Sushil and Gopal Ansal, in the case and sentences them to two years imprisonment.

January 4, 2008: Delhi High Court grants bail to Ansal brothers and two other accused.

September 11: Ansals sent to Tihar Jail after Supreme Court cancels their bail.

November 17: Delhi High Court reserves order on appeals filed by Ansals, other accused, CBI and AVUT.

December 19: Delhi High Court upholds trial court order convicting Ansal brothers but reduces their sentence from two years to one year. Upholds conviction of six out of 12 accused.

January 30, 2009: Supreme Court issues notice on petition filed by AVUT for enhancement of sentence of Ansal brothers and alteration of charge. Supreme Court also issues notice on plea of Ansals and others challenging their conviction.

2009: CBI files appeal in Supreme Court seeking enhancement of sentence of Ansals.

April 17, 2013: Supreme Court reserves order on appeals of Ansals, CBI and AVUT.

March 5, 2014: Supreme Court upholds conviction of Gopal and Sushil Ansal. However, two judges differ on sentence. Justice T S Thakur awards one year jail term, while Justice Gyan Sudha Mishra sentenced them to period undergone. Matter referred to three-judge bench.

April 21, 2015: The new bench couldn't start hearing.

August 11, 2015: Hearing begins on quantum of sentence.

August 19, 2015: Supreme Court allows Ansals to walk free, asks them to pay a fine of Rs 30 crore each.