Bhopal gas tragedy: Extradition attempts hit a wall each time
Twice since January this year, senior officials from the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) held lengthy discussions with officers from the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) in the United States via video conference to expedite the extradition of Warren Anderson. But its request was stonewalled.
Anderson, 92, who died on September 29 at a nursing home in Florida, was the chairman of Union Carbide Corporation (UCC), when a poisonous gas leak at the company’s plant in Bhopal killed over 3,700 in December, 1984.
“The FBI sought clarifications, mostly over minor issues, from us and said US was still examining India’s 2011 extradition request for Anderson to make him stand trial in a Bhopal court over his alleged role in the tragedy. After getting our responses to their queries, the FBI officials promised to get back to us but did not,” said a source.
He added that Anderson’s culpability was established prima facie — he had full knowledge of the defective design and structure of the plant and the poor safety measures which led to the leak.
The agency will now move the Bhopal trial court with an application to abate the case against Anderson following his demise, after procuring his death certificate via US authorities.
In November 1987, the CBI chargesheeted Anderson, the UCC along with two of its subsidiaries and eight Indian executives of the Union Carbide India Limited.
The CBI had sought his extradition to get him prosecuted in India under various sections of the Indian Penal Code, including section 304 (culpable homicide not amounting to murder).
Anderson was arrested by the Bhopal police on December 7,1984 and later released on bail after signing a personal bond, in which he had undertaken to appear before the Bhopal court whenever it directed him to. But he never returned.