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Anderson safe passage only option
New Delhi, Jun 17 (IANS):
Published on 17 Jun. 2010 11:51 PM IST
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Giving safe passage to Warren Anderson, then chairman of Union Carbide Corp after the Bhopal gas leak, was a "sensible arrangement" as the government had no other option, says a former spokesperson of the Rajiv Gandhi government. "Anderson offered to come to India to help out and approached the Indian government via the US embassy. If he was offering to help out, there was nothing wrong in that," G. Parthasarathy told IANS here.
"It was a sensible arrangement as there was no other option. One could not cut off all ties with Union Carbide if one wanted to get compensation from the parent company of the Indian unit," said Parthasarathy, who joined Rajiv Gandhi's PMO as joint secretary and spokesperson three years after the Bhopal tragedy.
Parthasarathy also pointed out that Anderson was arrested in Bhopal, only to be released on bail the same day, as the then chief minister Arjun Singh was not aware of this understanding on the safe passage at the highest level.
"The prime minister was away campaigning. Indira Gandhi was assassinated a few months ago. Those were very special circumstances," he said.
Parthsarathy's comments came after Gordon Streeb, who was US deputy chief of mission in New Delhi in 1984, told IANS that Anderson decided to come to India only after being assured of safe return.
Refusing safe passage to him would have meant a further strain the India-US relations which were stuck in mutual suspicion in those days, said a former official who did not wish to be named.
Parathasarathy's explanation behind Anderson's safe passage comes amid vehement denials from the ruling Congress party and other top officials at the time of the 1984 Bhopal gas tragedy.
"I have no knowledge of his coming or going. If an arrangement was made on these lines, I would not have known, P.C. Alexander, the principal secretary in the Rajiv Gandhi's PMO, told IANS. Alexander, however, denied any role of Rajiv Gandhi in the "escape" of Anderson.
Alexander's comments buttress the suspicion that the safe passage arrangement was struck at the highest levels of the government even as some point fingers at Rajiv Gandhi himself for allegedly giving a nod to this plan.
"He (Anderson) had some kind of assurance that he would not be detained in India, Brajesh Mishra, principal secretary in Atal Bihari Vajpayee's PMO, told IANS.
Whether he (Rajiv Gandhi) gave instructions or not, he was in the loop, Mishra said, adding that the BJP-led NDA government pursued the extradition of the man, derided in India as the "butcher of Bhopal", but nothing came out of those efforts.
CBI seeks dilution of charge against Warren Anderson
Bhopal, Jun 17 (PTI): In the midst of the political storm over the Bhopal gas case verdict, the records of the trial court show that the CBI had sought dilution of the stringent charge against UCC CEO Warren Anderson on the lines of the relief given by the Supreme Court in the case against the Indian accused.
In 2002, the CBI had filed an application in the court seeking that the charge under section 304 II of IPC (culpable homicide not amounting to murder) against Anderson be changed to section 304 (A) (causing death by negligence). While 304 II entails a maximum of 10 years imprisonment, 304 provides for two years jail term.
The CBI had moved the CJM’s court six years after the Supreme Court had watered down the charge against seven Indian accused in the case under section 304 II to 304 (a). Anderson had not appeared before any court after he returned to the US in December 1984 and his case was delinked from that of the other accused.
However, Chief Judicial Magistrate Rameshwar Kothe had on August 28, 2002, dismissed the CBI plea and directed it to inform the court about the steps being taken by it to get him extradited from the US.
Following this, the CBI had told the court on October 18, 2002 that the work regarding Anderson’s extradition was on.
The court had dismissed the CBI application after interveners in the case, including NGO Bhopal Gas Peedit Mahila Udyog Sangathan, had argued that if section 304 II was diluted to 304 (a) against Anderson, his extradition will become impossible as the case will get reduced to that a minor accident.
Also, the interveners had argued before the trial judge that the CBI plea should be dismissed as Anderson had never appeared in the court for trial and he was not fit for any concession. His extradition request to the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) was sent on September 23, 1993 which was remitted back by the US on May 9, 2002 on inter-alia requesting CBI to re-examine the matter, a CBI official said.
A revised extradition request along with an arrest warrant against Anderson was sent to US on December 13, 2002, he said. After this, the CJM’s Court here had again issued arrest warrant against Anderson on July 22 last year, he said, adding the matter was being pursued with the US authorities through MEA.
Apart from Anderson, representatives of Union Carbide Corporation, US and Union Carbide Eastern, Hong Kong, which were named as accused, also had not attended the trial.

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