Info on Anderson 'as and when received' from Law Min: MEA



New Delhi: The External Affairs Ministry is consulting the Law Ministry on making public details of the alleged safe passage to Bhopal Gas tragedy accused Warren Anderson after the worst industrial disaster in 1984 which killed over 15,000 people.

The Central Information Commission has directed the Ministry to provide details in this regard before November 30.

After orders from the Commission, the MEA said, "Consular, Passport and Visa Division of this Ministry has been examining the matter in consultation with Legal and Treaties division of this Ministry and Ministry of Law and Justice.

"The proposal is pending with the Ministry of Law and Justice. Requisite information will be communicated to you as and when received," the Ministry said in its reply dated October 13.

The Ministry has not sent any information to the RTI applicant, who had applied on June 18, despite statutory norms to provide reply within 30 days of receiving the application.

The applicant then filed a complaint before the transparency panel which subsequently issued a show cause notice to the concerned officials of the Ministry to explain the reasons for delay in furnishing the information.

Acting on the complaint, the CIC directed the Ministry to provide information before November 30.

"The complainant may also be allowed inspection of relevant files and be provided with the attested copies of documents, including file notings...free of cost," Information Commissioner Annapurna Dixit held.

The RTI applicant had sought to know from the Ministry if it promised any safe passage to Anderson during his visit to India, three days after the tragedy.

Anderson had reached Bhopal from the US nearly three days after the disaster struck the city on the intervening night of December 2-3, 1984. Upon his arrival, he was arrested by local police and later granted bail by a local court.

But Anderson managed to leave the country on December 7 and has remained evasive since then. The CBI has been consistently pursuing the matter of extradition of Warren Anderson since 1993.

The US did not agree for extradition of Anderson in the Bhopal gas leak case stating that the request of the Government 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