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MEA unsure who was minister when Anderson left

Last Updated: Sunday, November 14, 2010 - 15:22

New Delhi: The External Affairs Ministry
does not know who was its minister in December 1984 when
Bhopal gas tragedy accused Warren Anderson, the then Union
Carbide chief, left the country after securing bail.

In a strange reply, the Ministry has said the question
who held the charge of External Affairs Ministry in December
1984 relates to Chemical and Fertilisers Ministry and referred
the same to the Cabinet Secretariat for providing the answer.

"Since the subject matters raised on these points
pertain to the functioning of the Ministry of Chemicals and
Fertilisers, points (4) and (5) of the application are
transferred under Section 6 (3)(ii) of the RTI Act, 2005 for
necessary action," Joint Secretary in the Ministry, Debraj
Pradhan said while transferring the application to Cabinet
Secretariat.

A copy of the letter was sent to the applicant.

In point five, referred in the statement, the
applicant had asked "who held the charge as the minister for
external affairs during the period December 1-10, 1984?"

Later, a reply also came to the applicant in which the
Ministry reiterated its stand saying it has no information and
the point has been transferred to the Cabinet Secretariat.

An RTI application seeking details on the exit of
Warren Anderson was filed on June 18. The Ministry initially
did not provide any reply to set of questions.

It was only after Central Information Commission
slapped a show-cause notice to the Ministry and gave a
deadline of November 30 to provide the reply that answers
came.

"The Commission... directs the Public Information
Officer, Ministry of External Affairs to provide the
information sought by the complainant by November 30, 2010.

"The complainant may also be allowed inspection of
relevant files and be provided with the attested copies of
documents, including file notings, if required, keeping in
view provisions of... the RTI Act, free of cost," Information
Commissioner Annapurna Dixit held in her order.

Anderson had reached Bhopal from the US nearly three
days after the gas tragedy struck the city on the intervening
night of December 2-3, 1984 killing over 15,000 people.

On his arrival, he was arrested by local police and
later granted bail by a local court.

But he left the country on December 7 and remained
evasive since then. He was allegedly allowed to use an
aircraft of Madhya Pradesh government to come to Delhi from
Bhopal from where he returned to the US.

The CBI has been consistently pursuing the matter of
extradition of Warren Anderson since 1993.

However, the US did not agree for extradition of
Anderson stating that the request of India does not meet the
requirements of dual criminality under Article 2(1) and 9(3)
of the extradition treaty between the two countries.

PTI



First Published: Sunday, November 14, 2010 - 15:22

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