PC Alexander, the principal secretary to Rajiv Gandhi, has hinted that the prime minister might have taken the decision to release the former chairman of Union Carbide Corp Warren Anderson in consultation with Arjun Singh, the then Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister, media reports say.
According Headlines Today, Alexander said Anderson could not have escaped without the help of the state government and that he was let go keeping in mind the larger interest and under pressure.
Arjun Singh met Rajiv Gandhi after a Cabinet Committee Political Affairs meeting and that Anderson was supposed to be out under house arrest and all senior officials were in the dark about his release.
Attesting the same thing, a CNN-IBN report said that a declassified CIA documents show that Anderson was released after being arrested on December 7 on the orders of the Rajiv Gandhi government.
The documents were dated dated 8 December 1984 a day after Anderson left India and five days after the deadly gas leaked from Union Carbide's Bhopal plant.
On December 7, Warren Anderson was arrested but was later released the same day and was flown out of Bhopal in a state government plane to New Delhi.
The documents say politicians were trying to play a blame game and wring compensation from UCIL (Union Carbide India Ltd).
Moti Singh, the district collector during the time of tragedy has said that he was under orders of Brahm Swaroop, the then chief secretary of Madhya Pradesh, to get Anderson to the airport from where he was taken to Delhi.
Singh has alleged that Swaroop personally called him and asked him to release Anderson. He also added that he was never given reasons why Anderson was being released.
But Anderson, he said, wanted to visit areas affected by the gas leak but was told there was a threat to his life.
Anderson was charged with culpable homicide not amounting to murder, grievous assault and killing and poisoning human beings and animals.
Arjun Singh has refuted the reports appearing about his involvement and had added that he had done his job in the best manner under the circumstances.
A Bhopal trial court on Monday convicted eight Indian officials of Union Carbide for their criminal negligence that triggered the world's worst industrial disaster, but Anderson was not mentioned in the judgment.
(With Agency inputs)