Bhopal gas tragedy victims stage demonstration outside a court. (Mujeeb Faruqui/HT File Photo)(File photo)
Bhopal gas tragedy victims stage demonstration outside a court. (Mujeeb Faruqui/HT File Photo)(File photo)

Arrest warrant against 1984 collector and SP in Bhopal gas tragedy case

On November 19 last Bhopal district court had summoned Moti Singh and Swaraj Puri to give their statements on their alleged role in letting go Warren Anderson, whom they had escorted to the Bhopal airport in 1984 after his arrest.
By HT Correspondent | Neeraj Santoshi, Hindustan Times, Bhopal
PUBLISHED ON FEB 07, 2017 12:27 PM IST

Bhopal: Chief judicial magistrate (CJM), Bhopal Bhubhaskar Yadav on Monday issued a bailable arrest warrant against the then district collector Moti Singh and the then superintendent of police of Bhopal Swaraj Puri for failing to appear before court despite summons to them.

On November 19, Bhopal district court had summoned Moti Singh and Swaraj Puri to give their statements on their alleged role in letting go Warren Anderson, whom they had escorted to the Bhopal airport in 1984 after his arrest. The order came on a 2010 petition filed by activist Abdul Jabbar and Shanawaz Khan.

Moti Singh had given sequential details about the letting go of Anderson in his book “Unfolding the betrayal of Bhopal Gas Tragedy (2008)” . Jabbar used this book in a Bhopal court as evidence in his 2010 petition against Moti Singh and Swaraj Puri

On Monday , the CJM court issued bailable arrest warrants against Moti Singh and Swaraj Puri through the senior superintendent of police. Bhopal for Rs 5,000 surety each for securing their presence before the court on March 1.

In the order, the court maintained that both of them were aware of the summons, but being influential people, the summons couldn’t be served to them.

Jabbar said even after 32 years of Bhopal gas tragedy, they were hoping that the mystery of who had ordered the letting go of Warren Anderson, the then chairman of the US-based Union Carbide Corporation (UCC), within hours of his arrest in Bhopal on December 7, 1984, could be cracked soon if Moti Singh and Swaraj Puri gave their statements before the court.

“Both of them were first summoned on December 8 last. They didn’t appear. Then they were again summoned on January 13. Again they didn’t appear. And this is for the third time , they didn’t appear, prompting the court to issue an arrest warrant against them”, he said.

Jabbar said it remains a mystery who actually instructed the senior government functionaries in Madhya Pradesh directing them to let Anderson go.

Over 42 tonnes of methyl isocyanate gas leaked at the UCC’s plant in Bhopal killing 15,000 to 20,000 people on the night of December 2-3, 1984 and exposing more than 5 lakh people to the toxic fumes.

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