“The statement made by Mr. Singh as Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister five days after the Bhopal disaster had been published in a newspaper,” he told reporters in Kolkata on Sunday.
“It is very clear from the statement of Arjun Singh, which was published in The Times of India on December 8, 1984, that the law and order situation in Bhopal would have deteriorated and people’s frenzy and temper were running high. Therefore, it was thought necessary to send him (Anderson) out of Bhopal,” he said.
He was asked if the Congress was trying to shield Singh on the issue of exit of Anderson from the country.
On whether the government was considering Anderson’s extradition to India, Mukherjee said the government would look into the legal avenues available for the possible extradition.
“Though we cannot comment on the court judgement, we have to go to a higher judiciary where there is an appellate provision. We will appeal there,” he said. (DD-13.6)
Moily slams Alexander for remarks on Rajiv Gandhi
Law Minister M Veerappa Moily on Saturday attacked a top aide of Rajiv Gandhi for suggesting that the then prime minister may have had a role in the release of former Union Carbide chief Warren Anderson accused in Bhopal gas case, saying he was a new convert to BJP-Shiv Sena camp.
“I think he (P C Alexander) had joined BJP, and with Shiv Sena’s support he became a Rajya Sabha member. He is a new convert to the BJP-Shiv Sena and anti-Congress camp because he was not considered for Presidentship. It is a motivated statement,” he told reporters in Bangalore.
He said many persons like Alexander, former principal secretary to Rajiv Gandhi, suddenly wanted to be martyrs.
“I think he is responsible (for Anderson’s sudden release after his arrest in December 1984) because he was the then Principal Secretary,” he added.
Alexander had hinted that Rajiv Gandhi may have had a role in the release of Anderson as the then prime minister could have agreed with the decision on letting him off.
Moily said there was need for a law to fix responsibility on persons responsible for disasters such as the Bhopal gas tragedy.
He said the CBI which investigated the worst ever industrial tragedy that claimed thousands of lives booked cases under IPC section 302, but the supreme court converted it into 304 A (culpable homicide which provides for lesser punishment). “Unfortunately the judiciary did it,” he said.
Moily said the Government was working on codifying laws to ensure that disasters were treated as disasters only.
He also said the Government was working on a set of guidelines that would facilitate fast tracking of cases related to major disasters in the light of the Bhopal case.
“Our courts are very conservative. Hence we are working on new set of laws to deal with such disasters”, Moily said.
Referring to the case against former chief of Union Carbide Warren Anderson, he said it had not been closed. “We are pursuing it.”
When his attention was drawn to Andersons wife saying that her husband was too old, he said everyone was equal in the eyes of law and age did not matter.