15,000 lives lost: Bhopal gas convicts get jail, bailed out
After a gas leak from the Union Carbide plant killed an estimated 15,000 people in Bhopal, a court today held eight accused guilty of criminal negligence in the world's worst industrial disaster and sentenced them to two years imprisonment, but they were soon bailed out. HT reports.Podcasts : 'Late verdict doesn't satisfy victims' | 'Convicts not charged of murder' | Verdict too littlebhopal Updated: Jun 24, 2010 13:30 IST
A local court on Monday afternoon sentenced all the eight accused in the Bhopal gas disaster case to two years' imprisonment and Rs one lakh fine each under section 304(a) amid tension around the court premises where prohibitory
order is in force to prevent the survivors of the world's worst industrial disaster from holding demonstration.
The maximum punishment under the section 304 (a) is two years jail.
However, the accused were immediately released on Rs 25,000 personal bond. The verdict has come nearly 25 years and six months after poisonous fumes of methyl-iso-cyanite gas leaked from the now-defunct Union Carbide factory. It killed over 15,000 and affected nearly five lakh people over the years. The disaster had occured on the intervening night of December 2-3, 1984.
The convicts include Union Carbide former top brass Keshav Mahindra, Vijay Gokhle, SP Raichoudhary, Kishor Kamdar, J Mukund, KV Shetty and SI Qureshi.
The court has also imposed Rs five lakh fine each on three companies Union Carbide Corporation, Union Carbide of India Limited and Union Carbide Eastern (Hong Kong).
The court premises is heavily guarded and atmosphere is tense.
NGOs working for the gas victims have already said they would move higher court against the verdict for trial of the convicts under more stringent section 3049 (B) which provides for maximum 10 years jail sentence.
The CBI had filed chalan in this case in December 1987 and recording of witnesses statement began in 97. A total 178
witnesses deposed and 3000 documents produced in the court of the Chief Judician Magistrate. the incumbent CJM Tiwari is the 15th CJM since the case came up before the court.