A city court is set to pronounce its verdict against nine accused on Monday in the Bhopal gas disaster of December 2-3, 1984 that killed an estimated 15,000 people and affected more than 5 lakh.
Gas leaked from the Union Carbide factory led to the world’s worst industrial disaster.
The accused in the criminal case include Union Carbide Corporation, USA; Union Carbide Eastern (Hong Kong); the then Union Carbide India Limited chairman Warren Anderson; Keshav Mahindra; Vijay Gokhale; Kishor Kamdar; S.P. Rai Choudhary; R.B. Rai Choudhary; J. Mukund; K.P. Shetty and Shakeel Ahmed Qureshi.
Of them, the main accused, Anderson, who was declared an absconder on March 31, 1989, is said to be living near New York in the US. Despite numerous court orders, the Indian government failed to get him extradited.
Activists working for getting justice for the victims have expressed doubts about the probe. “Neither the Centre nor the CBI took the case seriously,” said Abdul Jabbar, convener of the Bhopal Gas Peedit Mahila Udyog Sangthan. “The accused have been framed in far lighter sections than their crimes demanded.”
The district administration has banned public meetings, protests, slogan shouting, and use of loudspeakers around the court premises till 10 pm on Monday.