Monday, November 29, 1999

Anderson issue not decided by Narasimha Rao on his own: son

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Hyderabad, Jun 18 (PTI) The row over Warren Anderson''s leaving the country continued today with P V Narasimha Rao''s son Ranga Rao suggesting his father would not have taken a decision on his own on granting "safe passage" to the Union Carbide chief a few days after the 1984 Bhopal gas tragedy. Contesting the claim made by the then Foreign Secretary M K Rasgotra that Narasimha Rao was instrumental in allowing Anderson to leave the country, Ranga Rao said "I don''t think my father took such a big decision on his own". "He had his own superiors. He had his own colleagues," Ranga Rao told reporters adding that "to put the entire blame on my father is unfair." Asked if the then Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi would have left the decision to the Home Ministry or he could have been involved in the process if at all a decision was taken about Anderson, he felt collective decisions would have been taken. "Rajiv Gandhi was an efficient leader. He was seized of all the matters. As cabinet colleagues, he must have consulted many. It is not that Rajiv Gandhi had completely left it to any other ministry. That is not the way Indira Gandhi or Rajiv Gandhi and for that matter any prime minister would act. They would definitely consult others and take a decision," Ranga Rao said. Rasgotra had claimed the decision to give Anderson safe passage was taken by the Home Ministry under Rao in consultation with the Cabinet Secretary. Contending that the Home Ministry had a "limited role" to play, Ranga Rao said several other ministries were "equally involved". Ranga Rao said holding his father responsibile for an act in 1984 was unfair since Narasimha Rao cannot defend himself. "Knowing the nature of my father.he used to either delay the decision on many occasions or waited for the right time to make it," he said.

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