Anderson extradition: Letters between CBI, MEA to be provided
New Delhi: The Central Information
Commission has directed the External Affairs Ministry to make
public its communication with the CBI in relation to
extradition of Bhopal Gas tragedy accused Warren Anderson from
Former Joint Director of the agency B R Lal, who led
the probe into the disaster during 1994-95, had claimed that
MEA had asked the CBI not to follow Anderson's extradition.
An RTI applicant had sought to know the details of the
MEA letter, claimed to be written during 1994-1996, asking CBI
not to press for Anderson's extradition in connection with the
Bhopal tragedy case which had left over 15,000 dead.
But the Ministry chose not to reply to the application
thus violating provisions of the Right to Information Act
which mandates the reply be sent within 30 days of such a
request being received.
Applicant Abhishek Shukla then approached the Central
Information Commission with a complaint against the Ministry.
"The Commission has decided to treat this petition as a
complaint under section 18 of the RTI Act and hereby directs
the Public Information Officer, Ministry of External Affairs
to provide the information sought by the complainant,"
Information Commissioner Annapurna Dixit said in her order.
She directed the Ministry to comply with the directives
by October 30.
"The complainant may also be allowed inspection of
relevant files and be provided with attested copies of
documents including file noting, if required, keeping in view
provisions of section 8(1) and 9 of the RTI Act, free of
cost," she said in her order.
Dixit also issued a show cause notice to the concerned
officials asking them to explain reasons for not supplying the
information within the mandated time period.
Earlier, in a separate decision, Dixit had also directed
the ministry to "provide information" on the alleged safe
passage promised to Bhopal gas tragedy accused Warren Anderson
during his visit to the country.
Anderson, who visited the country three days after
country's worst industrial disaster which took place on the
intervening night of December 2-3, 1984 was booked by Bhopal
Police under section 304 (culpable homicide not amounting to
murder) of the IPC.
He secured bail from a local court and flew out of
Bhopal on a state aircraft in 1984. Within hours of landing at
Delhi, Anderson left for the US and remained elusive since
then. CBI had moved for the extradition of Anderson after he
was declared absconder in 1993.