The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) Wednesday said the
Supreme Court's dismissal of their petition in the Bhopal gas
tragedy case was not a set back and the window to appeal is still
The apex court Wednesday dismissed the CBI petition seeking more
stringent punishment for then United Carbide India Ltd (UCIL)
chairman Keshub Mahindra and six others in the gas tragedy case.
"The trial is still going on at a Bhopal court and we will
earnestly pursue the case," CBI spokesperson Dharni Mishra told
She said the CBI had filed the appeal for stringent punishments in
both the apex court and the Bhopal court simultaneously.
"The trial in the Bhopal court is on and we are hopeful. Today's
judgment is not a setback," she said.
The CBI official said the apex court, while dismissing the
petition, also mentioned that the 1996 judgment in no way shackled
the trial court from framing the charges under the stringent
provisions of the criminal procedure code.
"A window is open for us to pursue the matter further," said
Mishra adding she cannot comment of apex court decision.
The investigative agency had moved the apex court, seeking a
direction of the framing of charges against Mahindra and others
for culpable homicide not amounting to murder that amounts a
maximum imprisonment of 10 years.
The accused were convicted by a Bhopal court last year under the
less stringent provisions of causing death due to negligence.
The Union Carbide disaster, in which poisonous methyl isocyanate
(MIC) gas leaked from the plant on the night of Dec 2-3, 1984,
killed 3,000 people instantly and 25,000 over the years. It also
affected 100,000 people and estimates are that more than 500,000
continue to suffer from ill effects of the gas.
The CBI moved the apex court after a trial court in Bhopal
convicted Mahindra and others under section 304 (A) and awarded
them imprisonment of two years.
All the seven accused - Mahindra, then UCIL managing director
Vijay Gokhale, vice president Kishore Kamdar, works manager J.N.
Mukund, production manager S.P. Choudhary, plant superintendent
K.V. Shetty and production assistant S.I. Quereshi - walked away
after getting bail.