Hitting out at the Congress over release of then Union Carbide chief Warren Anderson after the Bhopal gas tragedy, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) on Thursday alleged that the then government "deliberately and willingly" facilitated his safe passage.
BJP spokesman Ravi Shankar Prasad said in New Delhi that there "was a conspired attempt to ensure safe passage of Anderson".
He charged the then Congress government with "knowingly" facilitating Anderson's safe passage.
Gordon Streeb, who was then deputy chief of mission at the American embassy here, told IANS on Tuesday that Anderson came to India only after getting an assurance of "safe passage" from New Delhi.
Referring to newspaper reports, Prasad said Streeb had spoken openly that when Anderson was arrested, he asked the ministry of external affairs to intervene.
"It is clear that this step was taken by the government of India when Rajiv Gandhi was the prime minister. There was an agreement and Arjun Singh (the then Madhya Pradesh chief minister) executed it. So, such a person (Anderson) who is responsible for the massacre of around 15,000 people, was taken to Delhi on a government plane," Prasad said.
He said even if there was a security issue in Bhopal, Anderson need not have been flown put of the country.
"You could have kept him in Delhi or Jabalpur. There is lot of evidence that proves that government of India strategically downplayed Union Carbide's liability," Prasad said, alleging that the Congress was "telling lies".
Anderson, who was briefly arrested in Bhopal in December 1984 and then quickly released on bail, was later declared a proclaimed offender by an Indian court. He is now retired and lives in the US.
Tonnes of lethal gas leaked from the Union Carbide pesticide plant in Bhopal on the night of Dec 2-3 in 1984, killing nearly 3,000 people instantly and many thousands over the years.