Centre will ask US to extradite Anderson in Bhopal gas case

Written by fe Bureau | New Delhi | Updated: Jun 30 2010, 06:43am hrs
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh said on Tuesday the government would try to ensure that the US government took a more favourable attitude towards extradition of Warren Anderson, the former head of Union Carbide. We havent approached them yet. I did not raise this issue in my discussions with President Obama, he said.

Asked whether the Congress leadership should come clean on who was responsible for Anderson to go, the Prime Minister said, We arent hiding anything. I think the group of ministers has looked at the records. There is nothing, they have come across by way of definite findings as to who took decision. Those records are not available, Singh said.

The trial court in the Bhopal case had issued an arrest warrant against Anderson, one of the prime accused in the case, last year. Leak of toxic gas from the companys Bhopal factory had killed almost 15,000 people in 1984 and over 6 lakh people who survived the tragedy had to suffer its aftereffects.

The BJP had accused the Rajiv Gandhi-led Congress government of having willingly and deliberately conspired to grant safe passage to Anderson after the gas tragedy.

A court has listed Warren Anderson as an absconder in a case to determine his responsibility in the Bhopal disaster. The United States has turned down a previous extradition request for Anderson, who was chairman of Union Carbide when the accident occurred.

But a ministerial panel reviewing the case recommended reviving the extradition request this month as well as examining the liability of Dow Chemical, which bought Union Carbide 10 years after the accident.

The Congress party, which heads the ruling coalition, faces embarrassment in the case as the party was in power when the accident happened.

Bhopal activists have also accused the United States of double standards after the Obama administration extracted billions in compensation from oil giants BP Plc for the massive oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.

They want similar treatment meted out for the Bhopal disaster and have called for more compensation for the victims and a cleanup for the plant site.