The Sessions Court in Bhopal, on Monday, issued a notice to CBI, the prosecuting agency in the Bhopal Gas Tragedy case, asking it to present its side in the court following an appeal by the Madhya Pradesh government seeking enhancement of the punishment meted out to seven accused in the case.
District and Session Judge Subhash Kakde directed the CBI to file its reply by July 16. The CBI is the prosecuting agency in the case but now the state government too has got into the act after the CJM court's verdict on June 7, and wants that the convicts should get more punishment.
The CJM court, on June 7, had awarded two-year imprisonment and a fine of Rs 1,01,750 each to the then UCIL chairman Keshub Mahindra, former MD Vijay Gokhle, VP Kishore Kamdar, Works Manager J Mukund, Production Manager S P Choudhry, Plant Superintendent K V Shetty and Operator S I Qureshi. They were awarded the sentence under section 304 A, 336, 337 and 338 read with section 35 of the IPC.
The state government has filed the appeal seeking that the two-year punishment awarded to the seven convicts be enhanced. Judge Kakde issued notice to CBI after hearing the submission of the state government put forth by additional solicitor general Vivek Tankha.
Tankha told the court that it was competent to hear the appeal under section 377 of CrPC against the then CJM Mohan P Tiwari's verdict of June 7 in connection with the Bhopal gas case.
The state government has the right to file the appeal in the interest of the public, he said. Tankha is a member of the five-member legal panel formed by the state government to file an appeal against the CJM's court verdict in the case.