Famous builders Gopal and Sushil Ansal will not be jailed for the massive fire in which nearly 60 people were killed at the Uphaar cinema they owned in Delhi, the Supreme Court said, fining them Rs. 60 crore instead. In 1997, the Uphaar cinema on a packed evening turned into a death trap when it went up in flames. Virtually every safety rule had been broken; routes to fire exits had been blocked to plant extra seats. Last year, the Supreme Court found the Ansals guilty of criminal negligence, and indicted the Ansal brothers for being “more interested in making money” than in ensuring the security of their customers; however, the judges differed on how much jail time they merited.
The Ansals had many years earlier served a few months each in prison. Neelam Krishnamurthy, whose young son and daughter died in the Uphaar fire, has led the long and tough campaign for families who lost relatives in the huge fire in the heart of the capital.
On a Friday evening, the blockbuster hit “Border” was running to a packed house when the flames erupted. Those who died had choked because of the smoke. 100 others were injured in a stampede as people rushed towards several doors only to find them locked.