Insisting that former prime minister Rajiv Gandhi had not taken the decision to provide safe passage to then Union Carbide chief Warren Anderson, the Congress on Monday refused to take questions about who had taken the decision to release the man who is an accused in the Bhopal gas leak case.
Responding to queries, party spokesman Manish Tewari said the Group of Ministers looking into the Bhopal gas tragedy was dealing with all issues relating to the case and had given a report to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.
"Unless the report is made public officially, we can’t comment on it," Tewari said.
He said the party will respond "if and when the government decides to make the report public".
Asked about former foreign secretary M.K. Rasgotra’s comments about the then home ministry under P.V. Narasimha Rao taking a decision to provide safe passage to Anderson which was later consented to by Rajiv Gandhi, Tewari said it was not for the party to react to the recollection by individuals of events that took place more than 25 years back.
However, in reply to a question, he said that Rajiv Gandhi was not involved in the decision to release Anderson.
The Congress has all along maintained that the central government, then headed by Rajiv Gandhi, had no role in the release of Anderson, the main accused in the Bhopal gas leak case and the GoM would look at various issues concerning the tragedy.
The December 1984 gas leak from the Union Carbide factory killed and maimed thousands.