Convict in Uphaar fire seeks SC nod to go abroad

Exactly 17 years after the tragic Uphaar cinema fire, Gopal Ansal, a convict in the case and real estate baron, approached the Supreme Court on Friday seeking permission to travel abroad for a business trip.

The fire occurred on June 13, 1997, suffocating 59 people to death.

Bench of Justices J S Khehar and C Nagappan, however, refused to take up the plea and instead asked Ansal to approach another bench to assemble next week.

Through his counsel, Ansal sought the apex court’s approval to travel to London between June 16 and 20 and New York between 20 and 27 in the same month. He said he would return to India on June 28 or 29. The apex court had on March 5 upheld the conviction of the Ansal brothers – Sushil and Gopal – but referred the case to the Chief Justice of India to set up a three-judge bench in view of a disagreement between two judges on the quantum of sentence.

On April 22, the court had restrained the Ansals from leaving the country after it was pointed out that Sushil, another convict, had gone abroad without prior permission.

The Association of Victims of Uphaar Fire Tragedy had approached the Supreme Court against the Ansals’ travelling abroad.

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