Ambika Soni denies any Central Minister's role in Anderson leaving India

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New Delhi/Bhopal, June 10 (ANI): Union Information and Broadcasting Minister Ambika Soni on Thursday denied any Central Government Minister's role in Union Carbide chief Warren Anderson leaving the country four days after the Bhopal Gas Tragedy.

"There is no conclusive evidence to show that any central minister had a role to play in Anderson leaving the country. The very fact that a group of ministers on the Bhopal gas tragedy has been reconstituted shows how serious the government is on the issue," said Soni.

"Union Law and Justice Minister has also spoken on the issue without any delay. Let the committee give its report and we will see how to move forward," she added.

Union Law and Justice Minister M Veerappa Moily on Tuesday said the case against Anderson in connection with the Bhopal Gas Tragedy was not closed.

"As far as Anderson is concerned, the case is not closed. The CBI has filed charge sheet. There is one person here, who has not responded to the summons or replied to the charges. He has absconded and was declared a proclaimed offender," said Moily.

Anderson was the top executive of US-based Union Carbide Corporation (UCC) in 1984, when the world"s worst industrial disaster swept out over Bhopal in a gas leak from a pesticide plant owned by Union Carbide.

Anderson was arrested after the gas leak, but was then inexplicably allowed to leave India five days later on December 7, 1984.

Earlier today, the former Madhya Pradesh Aviation Director R.S. Sondhi and a pilot both claimed that they were instructed by the Chief Minister's office to fly Anderson out of Bhopal.

Sondhi said the then Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Arjun Singh's office had sent the orders to fly Anderson out of the troubled zone.

"At around 2 p.m., we received a call at the office of the director aviation at airport (Bhopal) from the secretariat of the chief minister office that an aircraft has to be sent to Delhi around 4 p.m. We prepared the plane accordingly," he added.

Captain S.H. Ali, the pilot, who flew Anderson out of Bhopal on December 7, 1984, four days after the deadly gas accident, said that he was asked by the authorities to fly Anderson to New Delhi.

"At around 4:30 p.m., Anderson and the other officials came to the Bhopal airport. We asked Anderson to get inside the aircraft. We closed the door of the aircraft and left for Delhi. I came to know that later it was Anderson," said Ali.

On Monday, a District Magistrate's Court in Bhopal had convicted all eight accused on grounds of negligence under Section 304 (a) for the tragedy.

The court also granted bail to seven of the eight accused and released them on submission of a bond and a surety of Rs 25,000 each.

The eight accused are Keshub Mahendra, Vijay Gokhle, Kishore Kamdar, J Mukund, S P Choudhary, K V Shetty and S I Qureshi and R B Roy Choudhary.

Out of the accused R B Roy Choudhary, then former Assistant Works Manager Union Carbide India Ltd (UCIL), Mumbai, died during the trial.

Warren Anderson, the chairman of Union Carbide Worldwide, has been designated as absconder. (ANI)

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