Uphaar: Ansal apologises to Neelam in SC

Cinema

In response, she says Ansals should get harsher punishment as deterrent.

Sushil Ansal, co-owner of Uphaar Cinema hall in South Delhi where 59 people died in a fire 15 years ago, apologised in the Supreme Court on Thursday to Neelam Krishnamurthy, who lost daughter Unnati (17) and son Ujwal (13) in the tragedy.

"I apologise to you and to them with folded hands. We accept what happened was wrong. We understand your pain and suffering," he said as a bench headed by Justice T S Thakur heard the petitions from the Ansal brothers against their conviction.

The apex court was simultaneously hearing a petition by the Association of the Victims of Uphaar Tragedy (AVUT) for enhancement of punishment to the Ansals. Krishnamurthy is spearheading the legal battle for the victims.

In December 2008, the Delhi High Court sentenced Sushil Ansal and Gopal Ansal, owners of the theatre, to one year in prison. They were released on bail within a month.

Krishnamurthy along with the families of other victims had sought a more stringent punishment so that it stops recurrence of such incidents.

In the courtroom on Thursday, Ansal walked up to Krishnamurthy from the back row where he was seated and offered his apology.

Ansal said he and his brother were willing to build a trauma centre, besides enhancing the compensation amount for families of the victims.

When the bench asked Krishnamurthy what she has to say in response, she stuck to her demand for harsher punishment for those who violated law.

"I want a deterrent. This one is different from other criminal cases since corporate personalities would not want to go behind the bars for their violations and they would rather choose to pay more money and put things in place. My children, like others, did not deserve to die. And now I am fighting for justice," she said.

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