Case against Anderson not closed, says Moily
New Delhi, June 8
Retired CBI official BR Lall, who supervised the investigation in 1994-95, levelled a serious allegation that the External Affairs Ministry had tried to stymie the premier agency’s efforts for the extradition of former Union Carbide Chairman Warren Anderson from the USA.
The CBI was convinced that Anderson was the main culprit, but the ministry, in a written communication, had asked the agency not to pursue the extradition case, Lall, who was Joint Director then, said. He had, however, replied to the ministry that it was not possible for the agency to comply with the advice. He did not know what transpired later as shortly thereafter he was transferred.
He contended that justice in the case was delayed and hence denied as the CBI was not independent and its investigation was influenced and commanded by some officials.
Law Minister M Veerappa Moily promptly dismissed this, describing it as an irresponsible statement by a retired official. “After retirement, people can give many statement. It is an irresponsible statement. This is not done at all. After retirement, people become martyrs by making such statements,” he said.
The case against Anderson was not closed. He had not responded to summons or to the charges. This resulted in the court declaring him as a proclaimed offender. This did not mean the case was closed, Moily said.
The minister, however, had acknowledged yesterday that justice was “buried” in the case and there was need for fast-tracking such cases and improving the investigation. He said the government would fast-track the Bhopal gas tragedy case in the high court as it had learnt “big lessons” from the verdict and could go in for a stand-alone legislation to ensure that the culprits in such incidents were brought to book effectively.
In 2003, the Indian Government did make a request to the USA for the extradition of Anderson, but Washington turned it down. Victims and many others firmly believe that the government could not succeed as it did not try hard enough. According to legal experts, the SCs hould also share the blame for the two-year sentence. For, it was the apex court that ruled in 1996 that violation of certain rules did not warrant invoking Section 304-II of the IPC (culpable homicide not amounting to murder).