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Anderson can still be tried for Bhopal gas tragedy: Moily

Wednesday, June 09, 2010 09:57:29 AM, IANS

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New Delhi: Union Law Minister M. Veerappa Moily Tuesday pointed out that the case of criminal culpability against US multinational Union Carbide Corporation's former chairman Warren Anderson is "not yet closed" and he can still be tried.

Pointing out that the chargesheet by the Central Bureau of Investigation included Anderson as one of the accused in the December 2-3, 1984 Bhopal gas tragedy case, Moily told NDTV: "Accused should be present during (filing of) chargesheet... he has been declared an absconder... That does not mean the case is closed against him. He can be procured."

Describing the Bhopal tragedy case as one of "justice buried", the minister said that the "anguish among people is natural".

"We need to take it further and bring it to a logical end," said the minister, hinting at the government's intention to pursue the case further and possibly approach the US yet again to seek Anderson's extradition to face trail.

The investigating agency accused Anderson in a Bhopal court of criminal negligence and culpability in leakage of tonnes of deadly methyl-iso-cyanate from Union Carbide's plant in Bhopal Dec 2-3, 1984, which killed thousands instantly and many more later.

The incident resulted in instant death of over 3,500 people, while over 25,000 people, exposed to the deadly gas, died in days and months following the incident.

The only time that Anderson had a brush with the Indian law was Dec 7, 1984, when he along with some Indian officials of Union Carbide was arrested in Bhopal after registration of the police complaint at the Hanuman Ganj police station in Bhopal Dec 3, 1984.

Anderson was charged with culpable homicide not amounting to murder, grievous assault and killing and poisoning human beings and animals due to leakage of the deadly gas from the Union Carbide's pesticide plant in Bhopal. But he was released on bail the same day.

The Bhopal court later Jan 1, 1992 issued a proclamation for Anderson's appearance before it. The court's proclamation was published in the Washington Post.

But as Anderson failed to respond, the court April 10, 1992 issued non-bailable arrest warrants against him and directed the central government to seek his extradition from the US.

The central government in May-June 2003 sent requests to the US justice department seeking extradition of Anderson. But the US, in July 2004, rejected India's request.



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