More embarrassing details tumbled out today in the Bhopal gas tragedy case of how former Union Carbide CEO Warren Anderson got bail immediately after his arrest but the then CBI chief rejected claims that the agency was asked not not to pursue his extradition.
Meanwhile, with the verdict in the case coming under all round attack, the Central government today reconstituted a Group of Ministers (GoM) to go into a range of issues including the relief and rehabilitation of victims and their families.
Madhya Pradesh government today sought to step into the picture saying it would appeal against the Bhopal court verdict seeking enhancement of the punishment to the convicts.
On top of a former CBI official's charge on Anderson's extradition, the then District Magistrate of Bhopal came out with his version of how he was asked to ensure bail for the carbide official hours after his arrest.
"They (Anderson and others) came to Bhopal from Bombay by service flight. They were taken into police custody at the airport and taken to the Union Carbide guest house where they were told that they were under arrest and they were lodged in three separate rooms and the formality of arrest was completed," former DM Moti Singh told reporters in Bhopal.
Then, he said, around 2 P.M. (Dec 7, 1984), the Chief Secretary called the SP and the DM to his office and told them to release Anderson and put him in the same plane waiting in the airport to go to Delhi.
"Accordingly, we went to the place where he was lodged. We observed the formalities of granting him bail. A Carbide employee stood surety and thereafter he was released on bail, taken to the airport and put on a plane to New Delhi," Singh said.
In Hyderabad, former CBI Director K Vijayarama Rao today rejected claims of a former joint direct B R Lall the agency was asked not not to pursue Anderson's extradition from the US.
"The Government of India as well as the CBI did everything they could to extradite Anderson from the US. But, the US refused to allow it," Rao told reporters.
"Their (USA) claim was that the Union Carbide factory was only a holding and that this man (Anderson) cannot be held responsible as he is not directly involved in the running of the factory. We can, however, hold him morally responsible (for the Bhopal gas tragedy)," the former CBI Director said.
Lall, former Joint Director who was in-charge of the probe, had yesterday said that he was asked by the Ministry of External Affairs officials not to follow extradition of Anderson when the gas leak took place 26 years ago.