Supreme Court reopens Bhopal Gas Tragedy case

August 31st, 2010 - 8:20 pm ICT by ANI  

Manmohan Singh New Delhi, Aug 31 (ANI): The Supreme Court on Tuesday reopened the Bhopal gas leak case and issued notices to all the accused on the basis of a petition filed by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) seeking to restore against them the stringent charge of culpable homicide, which attracts a maximum punishment of ten years jail term.

In in-chamber proceedings, a bench comprising Chief Justice S H Kapadia and Justices Altamas Kabir and R V Raveendran sought response from the accused on the curative petition filed by the CBI, which wanted a reconsideration of the 1996 judgement, which diluted charges against former Union Carbide India Chairman Keshub Mahindra and six others.

The court listed the matter for hearing after the completion of the service.

The petition is silent on former Union Carbide chief Warren Anderson.

Earlier on August 11, senior Congress politician and former Chief Minister of Madhya Pradesh Arjun Singh broke his silence in a short duration discussion on Bhopal Gas Tragedy in the Rajya Sabha.Arjun Singh while revealing truth behind the tragic incident said that he stayed in Bhopal when the incident took place while the then Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi was on tour that night.”I offered to resign but Rajiv Gandhi told me not to step down. I did not run away from my responsibility,” said Arjun Singh.Arjun Singh also ensured Warren Anderson’s arrest when he arrived in Bhopal four days after the tragedy.”I gave order in writing for Anderson’s arrest. Though it was my duty to save Anderson too, because I knew that people would lynch him. And it was my duty to see that people don’t harm him,” he added.Earlier on August 5, Minister of State in the Prime Minister’s Office Prithviraj Chavan said the CBI has recently sent additional evidence against former Union Carbide chief Warren Anderson to the Ministry of External Affairs in connection with his extradition proceedings in the case.

The CBI had on August 2 filed a filed a curative petition in the Supreme Court seeking restoration of stringent charge of culpable homicide not amounting to murder against the accused in the 1984 Bhopal Gas tragedy case.

The Group of Ministers (GoM) constituted to examine all aspects of the 1984 Bhopal gas disaster, seeking Anderson’s extradition apart from measures to clean up the disaster site, had submitted the report to Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh on June 21.

The GoM had dealt with all the issues - compensation, legal issues, including the issue of the extradition of Warren Anderson, the legal options available to the Government of India, and most importantly, remediation matters, and health related matters.

Union Carbide settled its liabilities to the Indian government in 1989 by paying 470 million dollars before being bought by another US company, Dow Chemical.

In the early hours of December 3, 1984, around 40 metric tonnes of toxic methyl isocyanate (MIC) gas leaked into the atmosphere and was carried by wind to surrounding slums.

The Government says around 3,500 died in one of India’s most horrific of industrial disasters. Rights activists, however, claim that 25,000 people have died so far. (ANI)

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