Bhopal gas leak case `influenced`: CBI officer

A former senior CBI official, involved in the Bhopal gas leak case investigations, Tuesday claimed that the probe was "influenced".

Updated: Jun 08, 2010, 18:04 PM IST

New Delhi: A former senior CBI official,
involved in the Bhopal gas leak case investigations, Tuesday claimed that the probe was "influenced", generating a strong
reaction from Law Minister Veerappa Moily who termed the
remarks as "irresponsible".

The officer, B R Lall, former joint director of the
agency and in-charge of the probe, also said he was forced by
the Ministry of External Affairs officials not to follow
extradition of Warren Anderson, the CEO of Union Carbide
Corporation, when the gas leak took place 26 years ago.

"CBI investigation was influenced and commanded by some
officials, as a result the justice in the Bhopal Gas leakage
case got delayed, hence, denied," said Lall, the CBI officer
in charge of the investigation from April 1994 to July 1995.

However, Moily, while reacting to Lall`s claim, said
"After retirement, people can give many statement.”

"It is an irresponsible statement. This is not done at
all. After retirement, people become martyrs by making such
statements."

Claiming that CBI was an "under command" organisation,
Lall said, "We need to make it free from government control to
ensure transparency and fair probe.

In other countries, all chief investigating agencies have
been given autonomy by keeping it out of the control of the
judiciary, bureaucracy and executive powers.

The charges by Lall came hours after a local court in
Bhopal yesterday convicted former Union Carbide, India,
chairman Keshub Mahindra and seven others for the world`s
worst industrial disaster, that left thousands dead on
the intervening night of December 2-3 in 1984.

"I was told by the Ministry of External Affairs officials
not to follow the extradition of Warren Anderson, which
affected the CBI probe," Lall, who is now retired, further
claimed.

After registering a case, CBI had filed its chargesheet
under Section 304 IPC, which amounts to culpable homicide with
maximum punishment of 10 years. However, the charges were
later watered down to 304 (a), usually used in road accidents.

"I do not know what circumstances and evidences forced
CBI or others involved in the proceedings to lower the
section," he said.

PTI