Congress denies role in Anderson leaving India

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New Delhi, June 11 (ANI): The Congress party on Friday denied any involvement of the Central Government in allowing former Union Carbide chief Warren Anderson leaving the country four days after the Bhopal Gas Tragedy.

The Bhopal Gas Tragedy was an industrial catastrophe that occurred on the night of December 3, 1984 at the Union Carbide India Limited (UCIL) pesticide plant in Bhopal.

Congress spokesperson Jayanti Natrajan said that there is no question of the Rajiv Gandhi government being implicated in the matter, adding that the newly formed Empowered Group of Ministers will examine afresh the Bhopal Gas Leak case.

Earlier today, it has been reported that PC Alexander, the principal secretary to Rajiv Gandhi, hinted that the former Prime Minister might have taken the decision to release Anderson in consultation with Arjun Singh, the then Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister.

Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan has written a letter to veteran Congress leader and former Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Arjun Singh seeking an explanation for the escape of Union Carbide Chairman Warren Anderson, in connection with the 1984 Bhopal Gas Tragedy.

In the letter, Singh asked Arjun Singh to reveal the person responsible for facilitating the safe passage for Anderson days after the Bhopal gas leak.

Information and Broadcasting Minister Ambika Soni has also denied any Central Government minister's role in Anderson leaving the country 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.

On Thursday, 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 Arjun Singh's office sent the orders to fly Anderson out of the troubled zone.

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.

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

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