CBI moves Delhi court for Anderson`s extradition

Anderson was the chairman of Union Carbide when a gas leak at its Bhopal plant killed over 15,000.

Zeenews Bureau

New Delhi: Months after the Bhopal gas tragedy verdict and the failure to book former Union Carbide Corporation chairman Warren Anderson outraged the country, the CBI is ready with fresh set of documents to press for his extradition from the US.

The CBI on Tuesday moved a Delhi
court to obtain a Letter Rogatory to the US authorities for the
extradition of Anderson to stand trial for his criminal culpability in
the 1984 Bhopal gas leakage tragedy, which had left over
15,000 people dead and maimed several thousands.

In a 33-page application submitted to the court of
Chief Metropolitan Magistrate Vinod Yadav, CBI said Anderson
should be extradited from the USA to face the trial which is
pending against him in the court of Bhopal chief judicial

"Warren M Anderson is liable to be prosecuted on
extradition to India for offence under section 304 IPC
(culpable homicide not amounting to murder)," said the CBI
referring to the extradition treaty of September 14, 1999
between the US and India.

"As per the provision contained in the extradition
treaty dated September 14, 1999 between the USA and India,
reciprocity has been granted for the extraditable offence
punishable for a period of more than one year or by a more
severe penalty.

"The offence involved in under section 304, 326 IPC
which entails more than one year imprisonment are covered
under the provision of dual criminality as these offences are
punishable in India as well as in the USA," the CBI said in
its plea.

The CMM decided to hear the CBI plea for Anderson`s
extradition on Wednesday.

The US had earlier, in 2004, declined a request by the government of India seeking Anderson’s extradition saying that it did not meet the requirements of the bilateral extradition treaty.

Last year in June, a trial court in Bhopal had convicted the accused –all Indians - and sentenced them to two years imprisonment.

Anderson, 90, never faced trial for his role in
triggering the world`s worst Industrial disaster over 26 years
ago and was declared a proclaimed offender by the court of
Bhopal chief judicial magistrate in 1993.

Arrested on December 7, 1984, within days after the
December 1984 tragedy, Anderson was granted bail by a Bhopal
court. But he flew back to the US and never returned to India
to stand trial in the case.

The Supreme Court in its 1996 judgement in the case had charged the accused in the case under the much lighter Section 304-I of IPC which provides a maximum punishment of two years, while it is 10 years under Section 304-II.

During the trial in Bhopal, the prosecution had produced witnesses who claimed that the plant’s top management was in the know of the plant`s structural defect and by deciding to cut maintenance costs, had committed criminal negligence, which eventually led to the horrific tragedy.

Importantly, Attorney General GE Vahanvati has also supported a fresh extradition request on the ground that there was “enough” evidence against Anderson which was not supplied to the US before and suggested that a US Attorney be contacted before the formal request is sent to Washington.

(With PTI Inputs)