US to `evaluate` Indian request to bring Anderson to justice

The US has said it would "carefully evaluate" any request from India to bring to justice Warren Anderson, the former CEO of Union Carbide.

Washington: The United States has said it would "carefully evaluate" any request from India to bring to justice Warren Anderson, the former CEO of Union Carbide, who is wanted in a case related to the 1984 Bhopal gas tragedy that killed several thousands of people.

"...if the government of India makes such a request of us, we will carefully evaluate it," State Department spokesman PJ Crowley, told reporters in response to a question.

Crowley, however, reiterated he would make "no comment" on any request for extradition of Anderson by the Indian Government arguing that all such issues are confidential.

"I`m not in position to verify, the fact, whether we have such requests or whether we have responded to it. We have an extradition treaty with India. And if India makes an extradition request to us, we will give it fair consideration," he said.

The statement comes days after an External Affairs Ministry official said in New Delhi that the US had rejected India`s extradition plea for want of more evidential links.

Maintaining that the ministry has "renewed the request for an extradition on a number of occasions from the time it was first made in 2003 to September 2008, when the last request was made," the senior official said the MEA will "proceed on the basis of the collective decision of the government" on the issue.

On the US response to India`s request for extradition of Anderson, the official said, "They have been saying that it is not possible to execute our request as it doesn`t meet the relevant provisions of India-US extradition treaty and basically it is evidential links they are looking for.

"We have been requesting the investigating agency to give us the needful additional information that would enable us to press for a review of American decision and thereby expedite the case for extradition," the official said.

Early this week, US Congressman Frank Pallone, the founder and former co-chairman of the Congressional Caucus on India and Indian Americans, supported the extradition demand.

"All those responsible for this disaster, including the former chairman of Union Carbide Warren Anderson, should stand trial in India and receive punishment that reflects the devastation and pain they have caused for thousands of people.

"Warren Anderson absolutely deserves to be extradited from the US and punished for the full extent of his crimes. As chairman of Union Carbide at the time of the Bhopal gas disaster, Anderson was ultimately responsible for his company`s actions," Pallone said.