Steps needed to prevent investigation lapses in future: CBI Director on Bhopal Gas tragedy

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Jabalpur (Madhya Pradesh), June 13 (ANI): Faced with criticism for a weak prosecution in the 1984 Bhopal gas tragedy case, the Central Bureau of Investigation's Director Ashwani Kumar has said that steps need to be chalked out to avert any investigation lapses in such tragedies in future.

"Now we have to see that what will happen in the future. The first thing is that we need to make sure that a tragedy like this should not happen in the future. And if in case it does happen, then the people should be given relief immediately; life and property should be protected from damage. And the people, who are involved, should be prosecuted immediately," Ashwani Kumar said on Monday.

Kumar expressed his department's helplessness by stating that they had only a single lawyer to deal with the Bhopal gas leak case. The CBI is now planning to appoint a panel of at least five lawyers to deal with such big cases.

He further said that the CBI has plans to ensure that investigation in any case is completed in a year's time so that the trial comes to an end within two years.

"The common man wants that in these cases the accused should be persecuted within six months. And we, at CBI, are thinking that whichever case is being handled by the CBI, we will complete the investigation within a year so that the trial comes to an end within two years," Kumar added.

On June 7, a court in Bhopal sentenced seven top executives of Union Carbide to two years' imprisonment for negligence and failing to prevent one of the world's worst industrial accidents that killed thousands of people.

The court also fined the company Rs 500,000.

The Union Carbide plant in Bhopal accidentally released toxic gases into the air in 1984.

According to government sources, around 3,500 people died immediately due to the gas leak whereas social activists contend the figure to be 25,000 in the years that followed.

The judgment caused outrage all over India with politicians cutting across party lines and slamming the ruling Congress party for its role in letting Union Carbide and its management get away without any stringent punishment. (ANI)

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