Congress member Arjun Singh told the Rajya Sabha on Wednesday that he briefed the then Prime Minister, Rajiv Gandhi, on the Bhopal gas tragedy on December 3, 1984, moments after the leak occurred.
Participating in a short duration discussion on recent developments relating to the Bhopal tragedy, Mr. Singh said that after detaining Warren Anderson, former chairman of United Carbide India Limited, in a guest house, he drove to Harda, where Rajiv Gandhi was campaigning for the elections, and briefed him about the events. “He [Rajiv Gandhi] heard me out without any comment. He did not utter a single word in support of Mr. Anderson and try to mitigate his problem. To blame a person of his stature and calibre is a figment of imagination.”
Mr. Singh, who was Chief Minister of Madhya Pradesh when the tragedy occurred, told the House that there had been “persistent calls” from the Home Ministry for letting off Mr. Anderson, whom he arrested on arrival in Bhopal on December 6.
Leader of the Opposition Arun Jaitley said Mr. Singh was blaming the Home Ministry [then under Narasimha Rao] and the Chief Secretary, who were no more. “When the PM had no sympathy for Anderson why did he listen to the Home Ministry?''
Brinda Karat (CPI-M) said this blows the lid off what the Congress spin masters had been saying about Rajiv Gandhi not being aware of the developments.
Home Minister P. Chidambaram will give his reply on Thursday.