Govt to go for Anderson extradition

Last Updated: Thursday, June 24, 2010 - 22:22

New Delhi: In the backdrop of outrage over
trial court verdict in Bhopal gas tragedy, government today
announced a Rs 1265.56-crore package and decided to file a
curative petition in Supreme Court besides pushing for
extradition of former Union Carbide chief Warren Anderson.

The Union Cabinet, which considered the report of the
Group of Ministers on the 1984 disaster, accepted all its 22
recommendations but did not fix liability on anybody.

It decided that the opinion of the Attorney General would
be sought on whether Dow Chemicals or any other successor to
Union Carbide Corporation (UCC) or Union Carbide India Limited
(UCIL) could be held liable, Information and Broadcasting
Minister Ambika Soni told reporters.

The Cabinet meeting, chaired by Prime Minister Manmohan
Singh, decided that ex-gratia of Rs 10 lakh would be given to
the kin of each killed in the tragedy, Rs 5 lakh to those who
suffered permanent disability, Rs two lakh each to people who
suffered cancer and total renal failure and Rs one lakh to
those with temporary disability.

The ex-gratia would benefit 45,000 affected people and
the amount would be paid after adjusting the compensation
already paid, Soni said.

The government also announced various packages for
remediation, rehabilitation and other measures, taking the
total spending to Rs 1265.56 crore.

The Cabinet decided that additional material in support
of the request for extradition of Anderson may be put together
by concerned agencies and the External Affairs Ministry would
thereafter press the request for extradition with the US
government, she said.

India had made requests for Anderson`s extradition
earlier, the last being in 2008, but these have not been
entertained by the US.

It was also decided that a curative petition may be filed
in the Supreme Court for reconsideration of its judgement of
September 9, 1996, by which the "graver sections" of the IPC
were quashed against the accused and the trial was confined to
offence under Section 304 (A), Soni said.

The dilution of charges had ensured that the accused could
get only two years of maximum imprisonment.

There has been a national outrage over quantum of
punishment after the Bhopal trial court gave the maximum
punishment to some of the accused on June 7.

The Cabinet decided that an appeal will be filed in the
Sessions Court against the judgment of the trial court to
correct the error in the sentences imposed on the accused
under different Sections, Soni said.

The errors pertain to the term of imprisonment (Section
338), the amount of fine (Section 304A), and the direction
that the sentences shall run concurrently.

The Attorney General will examine whether a curative
petition could be filed in the Supreme Court for
reconsideration of the compensation amount earlier settled at
US $470 million, the minister said.

Appropriate applications will be filed before the courts
concerned and request the courts, especially the High Court,
to expeditiously decide the question of liability of the Dow
Chemicals Company and/ or any other successor to UCC/UCIL, she
said.

To repeated questions on who was liable for the tragedy,
Soni said the Attorney General will examine the issue. "We
have to wait for the AG`s advice," she said.

Asked whether any timeline has been set for the AG`s
advice, she replied in the negative but said "the sense of
urgency is all around" and the AG would also submit his
opinion in the shortest possible time.

Replying to questions, Secretary in the Ministry of
Chemicals Bijoy Chatterjee, who was also present at the press
conference, said there is a case for approaching the Supreme
Court for review of its 1996 judgement.

-PTI



First Published: Thursday, June 24, 2010 - 22:22

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