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Bhopal haunts Govt, Cong in damage control exercise
New Delhi, Jun 10 (PTI/AGENCIES):
Published on 11 Jun. 2010 12:04 AM IST
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Amid questions over how under fire ex-Union Carbide chief Warren Anderson fled India, the Government on Thursday said the Group of Ministers (GoM) set up to investigate the Bhopal gas tragedy will look into all aspects of the incident and the facts would be presented before the nation.
Information and Broadcasting Minister Ambika Soni sought to play down allegations by senior Congress leader Digvijay Singh that Anderson was helped in escaping the country.
She told reporters “nobody is being indicted by anybody” in the matter.
“The GoM will examine whatever happened,” Ms. Soni said, when mediapersons repeatedly referred to allegations that Anderson had been deliberately allowed to escape the country.
“No fact will be hidden,” she insisted.
The minister said, “Any communication which conclusively proves a point will then be taken up at the appropriate forum. The government, on its part, has not failed to put in place a mechanism. Whatever facts that come to light will be considered and studied by the GoM.”
On allegations about U.S. pressure, she maintained that the union government was under no pressure from anybody and it was working in a “transparent” manner.
“In the last five years, there has been no pressure from any quarter on the UPA government. There has been no pressure from any country or government,” Ms. Soni said.
On the quantum of punishment in the 1984 case, the Minister said there was “no denying” the fact that people were agitated over it, which is why the GoM had been set up.
Meanwhile former police chief, Swaraj Puri on Thursday revealed that former Union Carbide chief Warren Anderson was aware of the lacunae in the UCIL plant in Bhopal and knew about the possibility of a disaster like the one which struck on December 2-3.
Puri, who was awarded President’s medal for moving around the gas affected area thereby becoming a victim of the deadly MIC, told TOI, “To say that Anderson did not know of the impending disaster is nothing but a plain lie.”
Puri, who arrested Anderson on December 7, 1984 and produced him before a magistrate, who let him off on bail for a bond of Rs 25,000 and a promise that he would appear before the court on being summoned, said, “I would say that he should be brought before the courts and that was why we had arrested him.” Anderson never kept his promise made to the court in the bail bond.
Asked whether Anderson possibly knew about the lurking disaster, Puri was quite sure that the UC chief was aware of the danger.

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