The additional district and sessions court on Wednesday admitted the petitions filed by former DGP Swaraj Puri and ex-Bhopal collector Moti Singh challenging the November 19 court order against the duo in a Bhopal Gas tragedy case.
“The court admitted the two revision petitions for hearing, but refused to stay the November 19 lower court order,” additional public prosecutor PNS Rajput told Hindustan Times. “It also issued notices to the two petitioners of the case - social activist Abdul Jabbar and advocate Shahnawaz Khan - for hearing on February 17.”
Special judge (SC/ST atrocities) DK Paliawal sought records pertaining to the case from the chief judicial magistrate court. In November, the CJM court had observed in its ruling that prima facie thousands of people were dying due to leakage of poisonous gas, but the district’s head, the then collector and superintendent of police were “using their expertise and system not to save the people, but instead help a criminal escape.”
The order had come on a petition filed by Jabbar and Khan in 2010. Their contention was based on public interviews, media reportage and a book - Unfolding the Betrayal of Bhopal Gas Tragedy - penned by Singh, who was then the district collector and had accompanied Anderson to the airport.
More than three decades after the deadliest industrial accident in the world, Bhopal chief judicial magistrate Bhubhaskar Yadav had ordered the police to book Singh and Puri in a criminal case for allowing Union Carbide chief Warren Anderson leave India.
The former IAS and IPS officers were booked under sections that lay down punishment for harbouring an offender and using their powers as public servants to save an offender from punishment. Later, the duo filed revision petitions in the district and session court.
On December 3, 1984, the Union Carbide plant leaked 42 tonne of methyl isocyanate gas, exposing more than 5 lakh people to toxic fumes that led to the deaths of more than 3,500 and left tens of thousands with disabilities.