Uphaar fire tragedy: Convict gets interim bail to attend niece’ wedding

A Delhi court on Saturday granted two-days interim bail to former court staff Dinesh Chandra Sharma, one of the convicts in the evidence tampering case of the 1997 Uphaar fire tragedy, on “humanitarian grounds” to attend the wedding of his niece.

Additional Session judge Anil Antil granted interim bail to him from November 21 to November 22 on furnishing a bond of Rs 50,000 with one surety of the like amount.

“Without adverting to the merits of the case, on humanitarian grounds, the sentence of conviction of Dinesh Chandra Sharma is suspended for two days from Nov 21-Nov 22 and he is allowed to attend the engagement ceremony,” the judge said in the order.

The court granted the interim relief after noting the Public Prosecutor’s submission that he has no objection if the permission was granted for a day only. Counsel A.T. Ansari along with S.K. Kain appeared for the State in the matter while Adv Pawan Kumar Bahl appeared for Dinesh. Advocates Vikas Pahwa and Raavi Sharma represented complainant Neelam Krishnamoorthy.

Through Adv Bahl, the convict submitted that the engagement ceremony of his niece was fixed for November 21.

It was stated that as her father and grandfather are no more, there is no elderly male member in her family to make arrangements for the already scheduled ceremony. Further, the counsel submitted the relevant proofs — invitation card along with death certificates on record.

The order directed Sharma that his mobile phone should be operational these days so that the officials can contact him on that, adding he should surrender before the jail authorities on at 5 p.m. on Nov 22. He should not leave the territory of NCT of Delhi during this interim bail period, it said.

On November 8, Chief Metropolitan Magistrate (CMM), Patiala House Court, Dr Pankaj Sharma, had sentenced Real estate barons Sushil Ansal and Gopal Ansal, the owners of Uphaar theatre to seven years imprisonment besides imposing a fine of Rs 2.25 crore in the evidence tampering case related to the Uphaar fire tragedy.

The court also awarded a seven-year jail term to former court staffers P.P. Batra, Anoop Singh, and Dinesh Chandra Sharma while slapping them a fine of Rs 3 lakh each.

The convicts, who were out on bail then, were taken into custody after the order was pronounced. On June 13, 1997, halfway through the screening of the Hindi film “Border”, a fire broke out in the Uphaar cinema, located in Green Park in south Delhi, killing 59 people in one of the worst tragedies.