A local court has stayed the proceedings initiated by a lower court against the then Bhopal Collector and SP for allegedly helping Union Carbide Chairman Warren Anderson escape after the 1984 Bhopal gas tragedy. On February 7, the court of Chief Judicial Magistrate Bhubhaskar Yadav had issued bailable arrest warrants against the then Collector Moti Singh and retired SP Swaraj Puri.
The proceedings against both the retired bureaucrats were stayed by Additional District and Sessions Judge D K Paliwal yesterday, on a plea by the duo that a hearing on a revision petition filed by them (before Judge Paliwal’s court) was on, and therefore the same case cannot be heard by the lower court.
The lawyers of the two retired officials urged the court to stay the proceedings till the hearing on the revision petition is complete, to which the court agreed.
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Hence, the proceedings in the court were stayed till April 24, when the court is expected to decide on the revision petition.
On February 7, Chief Judicial Magistrate (CJM) Bhubhaskar Yadav had issued bailable warrant of Rs 5,000 each against the two officials as the duo had failed to appear before the court for the second time.
The court of CJM was then hearing petitions filed by Abdul Jabbar of NGO Bhopal Gas Peedit Mahila Udyog Sangathan and Bhopal Gas Peedit Sangharsh Sahyog Samiti, and Satinath Sarangi of Bhopal Group for Information and Action.
The case was filed after the activists sought action against the two former officers for allegedly helping Anderson escape from the country.
Both the officers, now retired, were charged under IPC sections 212 (harbouring offender), 217 (public servant disobeying direction of law with intent to save person from punishment) and 221 (intentional omission to apprehend on the part of public servant bound to apprehend).
Toxic gas had leaked from the Union Carbide’s now-defunct pesticide factory here on the intervening night of December 2 and 3, 1984. Nearly 15,000 people were killed and lakhs maimed in the industrial disaster.