Arjun Singh wanted Andersen flown out: Ex Aviation Director

The former Aviation Director of Madhya Pradesh claimed Thursday that Union Carbide’s CEO Warren Andersen’s escape was state-managed.

Updated: Jun 11, 2010, 00:21 AM IST

Zeenews Bureau

New Delhi: The controversy over the Bhopal gas disaster is getting murkier with every passing day. After the then collector pointing fingers at the Arjun Singh government, the former Aviation Director of Madhya Pradesh also said on Thursday that Union Carbide’s CEO Warren Andersen’s escape was state-managed.

Speaking to a news channel, former Aviation Director RS Sondhi said, “We had got clear instructions from the office of then Chief Minister Arjun Singh, who wanted Andersen to be flown out of Bhopal.”

“I gave instructions in this regard after getting clearance from the office of Chief Minister Arjun Singh, “Sondhi said.

He further claimed that top officials of the then MP government made all necessary arrangements so that Andersen could be flown out in the shortest possible time.

However, Sondhi deeply regretted that he unintentionally played a role in Warren Andersen’s great escape from India.

The clarification from Sondhi came shortly after the pilot who flew Andersen out of Bhopal on Dec 07, 1984, recalled the sequence of events as they happened on December 07, 3 days after the deadly tragedy that left thousands dead.

Ali said that he had got clear instructions from his then Director Capt RS Sondhi, to operate the flight from Bhopal to Delhi.

“Andersen arrived at the airport in a white ambassador car. Few state officials including the District Collector Moti Singh and Superintendent of Police Puri were accompanying him,” Ali said.
"If I remember correctly, we were given 4 pm departure time on Dec 07, 1984 to flow him to Delhi. We completed our journey from Bhopal to Delhi in 95 minutes.”

Ali said that Warren was wearing a maroon-coloured suit and was holding a briefcase, and appeared unmoved.

Recalling that journey with Anderson from Bhopal to Delhi, Ali said, “Anderson was sitting alone in the plane and looked immensely uncomfortable and tired.”

On arrival in Delhi, Ali accompanied him in a car to the airport gate and from there Anderson went away on his own.

The recent revelations made by those, who were unknowingly involved in Andersen’s great escape from India, has put the blame on senior Congress leader Arjun Singh; but he has been maintaining a stoic silence.
In view of increasing public outcry and opposition pressure, the Congress party has also distanced itself from the controversy and appears to be divided on the issue.