Ahmedabad: Finance Minister Pranab
Mukherjee today ruled out any meeting with officials of Dow
Chemicals, the new owners of Union Carbide Corp, during his
visit to the US next week.
"If I go there at all, I would be addressing the (US-
India) CEOs meeting and also have some bilateral meetings with
Treasury officials. I do not know of any other meeting. I do
not know from where these things come," he told reporters here
when asked about reports about his plans to meet with Dow
Chemicals CEO Andrew Liveris in US.
The Finance Minister is scheduled to leave for the United
States by week end and is slated to attend the US-India CEO
Forum meeting on June 22.
In 2001, Dow Chemicals took Union Carbide Corporation,
whose Indian arm was behind one of the world`s worst
industrial disasters that claimed over 15,000 lives in Bhopal
A local court on June 7 convicted seven people,
including Union Carbide India`s Chairman Keshub Mahindra, to
two years imprisonment holding them responsible for the gas
leak. Union Carbide`s then CEO Warren Anderson was not tried,
while another accused passed away during trial.
Reports suggested that Mukherjee would meet Liveris and
raise the gas leak matter with him.
Earlier in the day in New Delhi, Planning Commission
Deputy Chairman Montek Singh Ahluwalia, replying to questions
about any meeting with Dow officials, said: "No, absolutely
not. I mean let`s be clear about it. We are the government
delegation led by the Finance Minister (and) will have a
meeting with the US government people on a wide range of
Mukherjee, who was here to inaugurate "Aaykar Vihar", a
residential colony for Income Tax officials, also met Gujarat
Chief Minister Narendra Modi.
The Minister refused to answer other questions on Bhopal
gas tragedy here, saying that a Group of Ministers is looking
"I am not going to respond to any of these questions
(related to Bhopal gas tragedy). There is an appropriate GoM
on this issues and they are looking into all aspects,"
Mukherjee said when asked about safe passage given to the then
Union Carbide chief Warren Anderson.
Mukherjee is a member of GoM appointed by the Centre to
look into all aspects of Bhopal gas tragedy.
The GoM, which is headed by Home Minister P Chidambaram,
was appointed by the Centre after a public outrage over a
Bhopal court verdict giving two years` imprisonment to the
persons responsible for the tragedy and the then government
providing safe passage to Anderson.
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh asked the group of
ministers to report back in 10 days.