New Delhi: Former Union Minister Arun
Nehru, a close aide of Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi, on Sunday
claimed Arjun Singh as Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister had taken
the decision to release then Union Carbide CEO Warren Anderson
after the Bhopal tragedy and that Gandhi had no role in it.
"It is obvious that chief minister Arjun Singh took the decision (to release Anderson) and informed the Centre
according to the press conference which the minister had addressed
on December 7, 1984. He was the person in-charge and he took
the decision," Nehru told a news agency.
He said the only authentic version of the episode could be got from the press interviews of Arjun Singh in 1984 and "to attribute any motive to Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi is wrong as the decision was taken by the CM".
He said a fresh controversy is being created
unnecessarily when the facts were known and Singh had spoken
on the issue in 1984 itself.
Nehru was a general secretary of the Congress in 1984 and
was campaigning for the Lok Sabha elections when the Bhopal
gas tragedy took place. He fell out with Gandhi later and has
no association with Congress or any other party now.
Claiming that Arjun Singh had taken the decision keeping
in view the circumstances that existed then, he said, "Trying
to judge events in 2010 by the ground realities existing in
1984 can never be right.
"He took the decision based on the ground situation then
and that decision was being questioned now after 25 years," he
The former minister said that providing relief and
rehabilitation must have been the top priority of a chief
minister when a tragedy of such a magnitude took place.
"The more appropriate question should be to ask why the
courts took nearly 25 years and why the charges were watered
down. We are waking up after 25 years...Are we supposed to
wake up after 25 years if a tragedy strikes now?" he asked.
On the issue whether the matter cropped up in any meeting
of the Union Cabinet then, Nehru said it was election time and
there was no time for Cabinet meetings as the leaders were
He also blamed the Congress for being "defensive" on the
issue, saying that this should not have been the case as the
facts of the matter are known and Arjun Singh himself spoke on
the issue way back in 1984.