HC reserves order on Ansals plea to suspend 7-yr jail term in Uphaar evidence tampering case

PTI | New Delhi | Updated: 27-01-2022 18:55 IST | Created: 27-01-2022 18:06 IST
HC reserves order on Ansals plea to suspend 7-yr jail term in Uphaar evidence tampering case
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The Delhi High Court Thursday reserved its order on a plea by real estate barons Sushil and Gopal Ansal seeking suspension of their seven-year jail term in the Uphaar cinema evidence tampering case.

Justice Subramonium Prasad heard the arguments on behalf of counsel for Ansals, another convicted person Anoop Singh Karayat, Delhi Police, and Association of the Victims of Uphaar Tragedy (AVUT).

Ansals and former court staff Dinesh Chand Sharma and two others -- P P Batra and Anoop Singh Karayat – were awarded a seven-year jail term by a trial court and the sessions court had refused to suspend the sentence and release them on bail.

While dismissing Ansals' plea for suspension of sentence till the appeal against the conviction by a magisterial court is decided, the sessions court had said that the case was one of the gravest of its kind and the offence appeared to be the outcome of a calculated design on the part of the convicts to interfere with the course of justice.

Seeking to suspend the jail term, the counsel for Sushil Ansal had contended before the high court that the "mutilated" documents were not even relevant to his culpability in the main Uphaar trial and his conviction in the evidence tampering case was a "travesty of justice".

He had highlighted that Sushil Ansal was over 80 years of age and suffered from various ailments.

Gopal Ansal's counsel had also argued that his client was over 70 years of age and the court should exercise its wide and liberal discretion to release him.

The plea was opposed by the Delhi Police and AVUT.

The counsel for the police had argued that the petitioners mutilated vital documents which formed part of the trial record in the main Uphaar cinema case, which forced the prosecution to record the secondary evidence in the main case and resulted in an enormous delay of trial court proceedings.

He had also claimed that the pandemic cannot be the basis to allow the prayers of the petitioners who no longer have the presumption of innocence in their favour.

AVUT's counsel had opposed the plea contending that the accused persons cannot be allowed to take law in their hands and claimed that the Ansals were "incorrigible" and that the instant matter pertained to "majesty of the law" and "obstruction of justice".

The court was also informed that in the main case, the petitioners were convicted and sentenced to a 2-year jail term by the Supreme Court which subsequently released them on payment of Rs 30 crore fine each after taking into account the prison time they had done. The tampering was detected for the first time on July 20, 2002, and when it was unearthed, a departmental enquiry was initiated against Sharma and he was suspended.

Later an enquiry was conducted and he was terminated from services on June 25, 2004.

The magisterial court had also imposed a fine of Rs 2.25 crore each on the Ansals apart from imposing a seven-year jail term in the case.

The case was lodged on the direction of the Delhi High Court while hearing a petition by AVUT chairperson Neelam Krishnamoorthy.

(This story has not been edited by Devdiscourse staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

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