New Delhi: The government on Wednesday said that
charges against former Union Carbide chief Warren Anderson
were not watered down and even patted the CBI for standing on
its ground to seek his extradition on serious charges despite
the then Attorney General opining to the contrary.
"The CBI you ridicule has stood by its ground and asked
to seek Anderson`s extradition under grave charges of 304
whereas the case was registered under 304A," Home Minister P
Chidambaram said while replying to a discussion in the Lok
Saba on Bhopal gas tragedy which was marred by acrimony.
The Left parties including CPI-M and CPI staged a walk
out after Chidambaram said that he would comment on the
statement of former Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Arjun Singh
after going through it. Earlier, participating in similar
discussion in Rajya Sabha, Singh had sought to blame the then
Home Minister P V Narasimha Rao for giving safe passage to
Recalling the sequence of events, Chidambaram said the
CBI continued to press grave charges against Anderson despite
Attorney General suggesting that charges against the Union
Carbide chief should be framed under section 304A of Indian
Penal Code which provides for lesser punishment. Similar
opinion, he added, was provided by a US-based legal firm.
While Section 304A provides for maximum imprisonment
of two years and fine, the persons facing charges under
Section 304 could face imprisonment up to 10 years in
addition to fine.
The CBI, Chidambaram added, stood its ground and
pursued charges against Anderson and sought his extradition
under the 304.
The minister also clarified, "the case which went to
Supreme Court was against Keshub Mahindra (chairman of Union
Carbide-India) and others. The apex court quashed charges
under section 304 against in this case.
"The charges under 304 are not quashed against Anderson
as the charges could not be framed against him, who jumped the
bail. A non-bailable warrant was issued against him by
Sessions Court of Bhopal and he was declared proclaimed
offender," he added.
Referring to the issue of increasing compensation to the
Bhopal gas tragedy victims, Chidambaram admitted that the
government and Parliament had not done enough and said the
government would file a curative petition in the Supreme
Moreover, he added, government would also give
compensation to those victims were left out and provide free
medical treatment for life to all those who suffered on
account of gas leak.
Chidambaram further said that centre would work in close
cooperation with the Madhya Pradesh government to clean the
site of toxic waste.
Chidambaram said that toxic waste at the site predates
1984 when the Bhopal gas tragedy took place and added that the
state government alongwith oversight committee will oversee
cleaning of the site.
Responding to the queries of members on the role of the
Centre in Sohrabuddin case, Chidambaram said, "It was the
Gujarat government which transferred the case to CID. The CBI
inquiry was instituted by the apex court when CID took the
case to it."
The minister said, "Whether somebody is a good man or bad
man, he should not be killed in a fake encounter. When I took
the charge of my ministry, I made it clear that there would no
fake encounter killings by any Central agency."
The issue of Sohrabuddin case in Gujarat was the focus
of attention for sometime during the debate following acrimony
between BJP and Congress members.