Narasimha Rao, not Rajiv Gandhi, let Anderson go: Arjun
It was the union Home Ministry (headed by PV Narasimha Rao) and not former prime minister late Rajiv Gandhi who put pressure on the Madhya Pradesh Govt for the release of Union Carbide chief Warren Anderson, veteran Congress leader Arjun Singh revealed on Wednesday. HT reports.delhi Updated: Aug 31, 2010 15:13 IST
It was the union Home Ministry (headed by PV Narasimha Rao) and not former prime minister late Rajiv Gandhi who put pressure on the Madhya Pradesh government for the release of Union Carbide chief Warren Anderson, veteran Congress leader Arjun Singh revealed on Wednesday. See cartoon |See special
Singh broke his silence in the Rajya Sabha, speaking for the first time after his statement to Hindustan Times, claiming then he had “no locus standi” on Anderson’s release.
While participating in a debate on Bhopal, Singh said: “Rajiv Gandhi never uttered a single word to me during the next two days (after Anderson was arrested on December 5, 1984) either in support of Anderson or to mitigate his problem.”
Singh instead pointed his finger at Rao, without naming him, for letting Anderson escape. “The only thing on Rajivji’s mind was how to provide relief and rehabilitation,” he said.
The Congress party appeared relieved after Singh’s speech, though some felt his statements could lead to further questions, as the party had maintained Gandhi did not know anything about the Anderson episode.
Singh also said Prime Minister Manmohan Singh should use his ‘closeness’ to US president Barack Obama and get Anderson extradited.
Rewinding to December 1984, Singh said the then Chief Secretary informed him of “persistent calls from Home Ministry officials for granting bail to Anderson. I told him to do what he felt like, but Anderson’s arrest should be recorded so he could be summoned when needed.”
Singh washed his hands off the controversy on how Anderson was flown out of Bhopal in a state plane. “It was incongruous how he should have gone back on a state plane.”
Singh said Anderson was arrested the moment he landed in Bhopal. “He (Anderson) was surprised and asked the SP why did the CM not come to receive him. He was so arrogant.”
The Congress leader had come prepared to the House with a written speech, which was apparently cleared by the Congress party’s ace troubleshooter and Finance Minister, Pranab Mukherjee.
First Published: Aug 11, 2010 21:42 IST