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Gas Tragedy: Accused's statements recorded

Written by: Staff

Bhopal, Mar 2 (UNI) For the second consecutive day today, the local chief judicial magistrate's court recorded statements of those accused in the criminal case -- under section 301 of the CrPC -- pertaining to the 1984 Bhopal Gas Tragedy caused by leakage of methyl isocyanate from the now-closed Union Carbide factory.

The unit's then shift supervisor Shakeel Qureshi deposed before CJM A K Gupta in the pre-lunch session.

Former works manager J Mukund yesterday denied any difference in the structure of the company's plants in the US and here. Mr Mukund responded to prosecution by saying minor leakages did not occur at the factory earlier.

''Methyl isocyanate is a toxic, inflammable and reactive gas that should not be stored in iron, steel, aluminium, tin, concrete or metal containers,'' he admitted.

Mr Mukund denied that, just a couple of months preceding the disaster, there were discussions that the unit was being shifted.

Replying to a question, Mr Mukund said employee Mohammad Ashraf -- whose death preceded the tragedy -- was not killed by a gas leak but due to his own fault while at work.

Earlier, ex-production supervisor K V Shetti's statement was recorded.Based on 178 CBI prosecution witnesses' statements more than 600 queries have been drafted.

For the first time in the history of the trial, which is being argued since 1987, a February 6 hearing witnessed the then Union Carbide India Ltd chairman Keshav Mahindra and seven other accused appearing before the bench together.

They were Mr Qureshi, Mr Mukund, Mr Shetty, the then MD Vijay Gokhale, vice-president Kishore Kamdar, production manager S P Chaudhry and A K Srivastava.

Hearings would continue until tomorrow and Mr Mahindra and Mr Gokhale might reappear.


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