Wednesday, June 28, 2017

L-G rejects Uphaar convict Gopal Ansal’s mercy plea

The Hindu: New Delhi: Wednesday, June 28, 2017.
Lieutenant-Governor Anil Baijal has endorsed the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) government's decision that clemency for Gopal Ansal, a convict in the Uphaar Cinema fire case, not be recommended to the President, sources claim.
According to a source, Mr. Baijal's office had, within days of receiving Delhi Home Minister Satyendar Jain's recommendation last week against the plea, forwarded the file related to the decision endorsing the same to the Delhi Home Department. It was then relayed to the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA).
MHA yet to get file
The MHA, which is procedurally supposed to refer it to Rashtrapati Bhavan, however, said it was yet to receive the file but expected it in the coming days, according to a source.
When contacted for comment on the development, Neelam Krishnamoorthy, convenor of the Association of Victims of Uphaar Tragedy (AVUT), said, “We are glad that the L-G, too, has rejected the mercy petition; the decision conveys that the government is serious about sending a strong message about the importance of the safety of public spaces to their owners.”
Ms. Krishnamoorthy had called on Mr. Baijal at Raj Niwas last Friday. Sources claimed the L-G had then taken up the file and directed that it be despatched to the MHA with his endorsement of the Delhi government's decision at the first opportunity.
The MHA is examining a mercy petition filed by Ansal and had sought the opinion of the ministries concerned as well as the Delhi government before conveying its decision to the President. The fire at the cinema had claimed the lives of 59 people in June 1997.
Petition to President
As per a RTI reply, a mercy petition was filed by Ansal with the President on March 18, 2016, following which the matter was referred to the MHA.
Sources in the MHA said the matter was then sent to Raj Niwas, which then referred it to the Delhi government’s Home Department for opinion. A source in the MHA said the Centre was likely to not recommend mercy in the case.
The Delhi government had, last Tuesday, recommended that the President reject the mercy petition . While Sushil Ansal escaped jail term due to his age, Gopal Ansal was sentenced to one year in prison.
After the Supreme Court rejected his plea, he surrendered at Tihar Jail in March.