The CBI will file an application before the Madhya Pradesh High Court, seeking determination of the liability of the US-based Dow Chemicals, which acquired the former Union Carbide Corporation, responsible for the Bhopal gas tragedy of 1984.
The Dow Chemicals had acquired the Union Carbide Corporation in 1999, and has been consistently denying any link with the gas disaster.
Based on the opinion of Solicitor General Gopal Subramanium, a Group of Ministers (GoM) headed by home minister P Chidambaram, discussed the matter on Thursday.
The GoM has also decided not to dump the toxic waste lying on the site of one of the world’s worst industrial disasters at Pithampur in Madhya Pradesh, following public objections.
The GoM has put on hold the dismantling of the machines and other equipment at the Union Carbide plant and has asked the state government to submit a proposal within three months, suggesting ways for decontamination.
On the controversial issue of fixing the liability of Dow Chemicals, the Solicitor General has pointed out that since the Indian arm of the company itself approached the high court, challenging a lower court order to issue summons to the company’s managing director at Michigan, the CBI should also proceed in the same court.
Though the government has not calculated any amount to fix the liability, NGOs put the figure at around R2,000 crore, given the scale of destruction and lives lost.
“A Bhopal court issued summons to the managing director of Dow Chemicals International Private Limited, Mumbai. The Indian company refused to accept the summons on behalf of the US-based company. So, summons were issued to the company’s US headquarters,” Subramanium wrote.