New Delhi: Clearly denying any slackness on its part in bringing to justice the man held accountable for Bhopal gas tragedy, the Indian government has said that it had made the first request for Union Carbide’s ex-chief Warren Anderson’s extradition in 2003 and since then it has made innumerable such requests, all of which are pending with the US.
“US government has ignored several extradition requests for Anderson, but US has been ignoring them on the ground that as Anderson is not personally culpable for the tragedy, so he cannot be extradited”, MEA sources informed on Tuesday.
Warren Anderson has been on the run from law since 1980s. Anderson was declared a proclaimed offender after jumping bail in India.
Earlier in the day however, Union Law Minister Veerappa Moily accepted that the case against him (Anderson) was looked at causally.
Detailing the government’s next move he said, "As far as Anderson is concerned, the case is not closed.”
He said the name of Anderson figured in the chargesheet filed by the CBI in the case.
"The CBI has filed chargesheet. The courts then frame charges. There is one person here who has not responded to the summons or replied to the charges. He has absconded and was declared a proclaimed offender," he said.
"That does not mean that the case against him (Anderson) is closed," Moily said, adding that his case has been an eye-opener.
Anderson, facing charges under various sections of the Indian Penal Code, has been avoiding Indian courts ever since he jumped bail in 1984. He was the CEO of Union Carbide at the time of the disaster and he along with others is accused of causing death due to negligence.
Moily did not divulge any details about whether the government would press the US to extradite him to India - as per reports; Anderson now lives in a New York suburb.
The law minister also took strong exception to the claims now being made by former CBI officer BB Lal that the government told him to not go after Anderson; he said that he holds Lal culpable as he had the powers as an investigating officer to discharge his responsibilities, but he failed to do so.
On Monday, a lower court in Bhopal convicted all 8 accused, including the then chief of India operations Keshub Mahindra, in the gas tragedy case and sentenced them to a maximum 2 years imprisonment. However, all the accused were immediately released on bail.
The verdict comes after more than 25 years of the leak of deadly methyl isocianate from Union Carbide`s chemical plant in Bhopal on December 2, 1984 that killed 15,000 (around 3,000 officially) people and injured many.