Gopal Ansal makes last ditch effort to avoid jail, appeals to president


Failing to get any leeway from the Supreme Court in the Uphaar film fire case, real estate baron Gopal Ansal – who has to serve seven months in prison – has now spoke to the President for relief. He has likewise requested that the Supreme Court give him more time to surrender – a demand the court has turned down.

The younger of the Ansal siblings, who is 69 years old, has been sentenced for negligence in connection with the 1997 fire tragedy in which 50 individuals had passed on. His elder sibling Sushil Ansal, who was also convicted, was spared a prison sentence because of his advanced years. 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. The due date is tonight.

Today, his legal counselor told the Supreme Court that President Pranab Mukherjee is not available and till he makes a decision, the court should give his customer more time to surrender. The court, however declined to give him more time. Chief Justice JS Khehar stated, “It is beyond our domain. You go and mention before the President. We can’t grant time.”

On March 9, his lawyer had argued that Mr Ansal was old and sick and was living on charity.

The CBI, which had investigated the fire and brought the Ansals to book, had questioned the claim. Mr Ansal, the agency stated, was the managing director of a couple of organizations and it was not possible that he was living on charity. The top court had agreed and had rejected the plea.

The real estate tycoon, who was given a year’s prison term by the court, will have to spend just seven months behind the bars, as he had already spent four months in Tihar imprison as an undertrial.