Monday, November 29, 1999

Bhopal fiasco a systemic failure, need to address it: Cong

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New Delhi, June 16 (PTI) Congress today said then Union Carbide CEO Warren Anderson was able to leave the country after the Bhopal gas tragedy due to a "systemic failure" and maintained that instead of finger-pointing the effort should be to address it. "At the end of it there was a systemic failure and there is a need to address it.If we go into the game of finger- pointing, there can be no end. I can ask the BJP about Rs one lakh it received as donation from Dow as was reflected in the affidavit it filed before the Election Commission," party spokesman Manish Tewari said. The comments of Tewari came on a day when TV channels reproduced the bytes of Anderson and Arjun Singh, before the UCC chief left the country on December 7, 1984, three days after the world''s worst industrial disaster. "House arrest or no arrest or bail, no bail, I am free to go home.There is a law of the United States.India, bye, bye, Thank you," Anderson had said. Standing just outside the Union Carbide plant, Singh had said, "There was no intention to prosecute anyone or try to, sort of, harass anyone. "Therefore, he (Anderson) was granted bail and he agreed to be present in court when the charges are made," the former Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister had said. Asked about the statements and whether the Central government was aware of these, Tewari said, "I reject the conclusions with the contempt they deserve. There was never ever any intention of Central government to allow any culprit to go scot-free," he said. The spokesman said a GoM has been constituted and it is looking into all aspects of the issue. Tewari vehemently denied that then Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi had any knowledge about Anderson being allowed to leave, saying that imputing such motives was "despicable" as Gandhi had lost his mother a month ago and lost his life a few years down the line. "We are all anguished by the verdict," he said. Attacking the BJP for finger-pointing on the Anderson issue, Tewari asked why the then Attorney General had changed his opinion. Tewari said in the last 26 years after the Bhopal gas tragedy, eight governments came at the Centre and pursued the case along with many national and international NGOs. "After this, if the country feels and rightly feels so that justice was not done, it clearly points out it was a systemic failure and it needs to be addressed," he said. PTI AMI AMR SPG.

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