Monday, November 29, 1999

Act against those who allowed Anderson to leave: Jethmalani

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Jaipur, June 17 (PTI) Senior lawyer Ram Jethmalani tonight suggested that the government, instead of trying to bring back former Union Carbide CEO Warren Anderson, should ensure action against those who had enabled him to leave India in 1984 after the Bhopal gas leak tragedy. The then Congress government at the Centre, the Arjun Singh government in Madhya Pradesh and the bureaucracy should be held responsible for the Bhopal fiasco, the newly-elected Rajya Sabha MP said adding, the victims got "delayed and insufficient" justice. "How could Anderson be brought back when the extradition treaty in the very case was dropped by the then Congress government?" he told reporters here after his election as an independent candidate backed by BJP. "Now everywhere there is a common voice -- bring back Anderson. I would opine that instead of raising voices to bring back Anderson from USA, the UPA government should ensure action against hose who are here and had enabled Anderson to leave the country," he said. Jethmalani said the gas leak victims have not been paid adequate compensation even 25 years after the world''s worst industrial disaster. "I ask how did you (government) settle the USD 3.3 billion demand of compensation to just USD 470 million.why the Central government signed a consent for no-prosecution in the case?" he said. He said according to an agreement of February 15, 1989 facilitated by the Supreme Court, Union Carbide Corporation USA provided a compensation of USD 470 million (Rs 715 crore) meant for 1,02,000 affected people and 3000 people who lost their lives in the toxic gas leak. This fund was meagre as the number of people affected by the tragedy went up to 5,74,000, while the number of people who died as a fallout of gas leak shot up to 15,274 subsequently, he said.

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