Cong puts Bhopal onus on Arjun Singh

Last Updated: Friday, June 11, 2010 - 17:41

New Delhi: The attack over the escape of
former Union Carbide chief Warren Anderson today appeared to
be zeroing in on the then Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Arjun
Singh, with two Congress leaders Digvijay Singh and R K Dhawan
saying he should answer how it happened.

A day after kicking up a controversy by reportedly
alleging that US pressure could have led to Anderson leaving
the country in December 1984, Digvijay Singh today said he was
unaware of the developments at that time as he had resigned as
Minister in the Madhya Pradesh government and was campaigning
for Lok Sabha polls.

"In the statement itself, I had clarified that I was
campaigning and really don`t know the events which led to the
bail and release of Mr Anderson," Digvijay Singh said in an
email response to PTI from the US where he is currently on a
tour.

He said the "people who can answer this" are "Arjun
Singhji, the then CM" as also Brahm Swaroop, the then Chief
Secretary of Madhya Pradesh, Moti Singh, the then Collector of
Bhopal, and Swaraj Puri, the then SP of Bhopal.

On the action taken by then Central government and Madhya
Pradesh government, Digvijay Singh said he could not "sit on
judgement".

He said Rajiv Gandhi had left his campaign and visited
Bhopal immediately, visiting the affected areas and meeting
the families of affected persons.

"The government of India extended all possible help
immediately to the state government," Digvijay Singh said.

Echoing Digvijay Singh`s views, R K Dhawan, Private
Secretary to Rajiv Gandhi, said Arjun Singh was the "only
person who can answer" how Anderson left the country.

He said he did not believe that Rajiv Gandhi would have
known about the developments or asked Arjun Singh to provide
the airport to Anderson by which he flew out of Bhopal.

Joining the attack on Arjun Singh from within, Madhya
Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan also asked him to
explain the circumstances in which Anderson left.

"Let Arjun Singh explain it. Whether he did it (gave
permission for providing state aircraft) himself or anybody
told him to do so. We want a reply from him if a wrong
direction was given. And after all, why such a direction was
given," said Chouhan, who has already written a letter in this
regard to Arjun Singh.

Congress spokesperson Jayanti Natarajan also appeared to
put the onus on Arjun Singh as she insisted that Rajiv Gandhi
government had no role to play in Anderson`s escape.

"I categorically deny involvement of the then Central
government," she told reporters when pointed out that some
people were alleging that Arjun Singh acted at the behest of
Rajiv Gandhi.

On Digvijay Singh`s reported suggestion about "US
pressure", Natarajan said he had already "explained" his
statement and the question of indicting anyone "does not
arise".

With regard to the controversy over where the appeal
should have been filed against the Supreme Court verdict
watering down charges, Digvijay Singh said the apex court "in
its wisdom clubbed all cases filed individually and decided on
the quantum of compensation."

The Congress leader said special courts were appointed
under the directions of the Supreme Court to decide on
individual cases and criminal case was investigated by CBI.

There was a Cabinet Sub-Committee in the government of
India which dealt with and took decisions which the state
government implemented, Digvijay Singh said.

-PTI



First Published: Friday, June 11, 2010 - 17:41

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