Uphaar tragedy: No relief for Gopal Ansal

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Uphaar theatre owner Gopal Ansal surrendered before the Tihar jail authorities here on Monday evening, hours after the Supreme Court refused to grant him more time.

"Sorry, we can't", said the Supreme Court bench comprising Chief Justice Jagdish Singh Khehar, Justice DY Chandrachud and Justice Sanjay Kishan Kaul.

Owing to age-related complications, Gopal's elder brother Sushil Ansal had got a relief from incarceration with a prison term already undergone by him.

The apex court also rejected the plea from the senior advocate seeking a direction for speedy disposal of his mercy plea, pending before the President, saying that it can not interfere in it as it is an exclusive jurisdiction of the President. He is 77 years old.Time is running out for the younger Ansal, who had been given a month's time in February to surrender by the Supreme Court.

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59 persons died of asphyxia and over 100 others were injured after a fire broke out in the Uphaar cinema during the screening of Hindi movie "Border" in June 1997.

The apex court told senior lawyer Ram Jethmalani, who appeared for Ansal, to ask the real estate baron to undergo the rest of his jail term.

The Delhi High Court had on December 19, 2008 awarded one-year jail term to both Sushil and Gopal Ansal in the case while reducing the two-year sentence imposed on them by the trial court.

For 20 years, the case has dragged on.

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