In the midst of the political storm over the Bhopal gas case verdict, the records of the trial court show that the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) had sought dilution of the stringent charge against then Union Carbide CEO Warren Anderson on the lines of the relief given by the Supreme Court in the case against the Indian accused.
In 2002, the CBI had filed an application in the court seeking that the charge under section 304 II of IPC (culpable homicide not amounting to murder) against Mr. Anderson be changed to section 304 (A) (causing death by negligence). While 304 II entails a maximum of 10 years imprisonment, 304 provides for two years jail term.
Mr. Anderson had not appeared before any court after he returned to the U.S. in December in 1984 and his case was delinked from that of the other accused.
However, Chief Judicial Magistrate Rameshwar Kothe had on August 28, 2002, dismissed the CBI plea and directed it to inform the court about the steps being taken by it to get him extradited from the U.S.
Following this, the CBI had told the court on October 18, 2002 that the work regarding Mr. Anderson’s extradition was on.
The court had dismissed the CBI application after interveners in the case, including the NGO Bhopal Gas Peedit Mahila Udyog Sangathan, had argued that if section 304 II was diluted to 304 (a) against Mr. Anderson, his extradition will become impossible as the case will get reduced to a minor accident.
Also, the interveners had argued before the trial judge that the CBI plea should be dismissed as Mr. Anderson had never appeared in the court for trial and he was not fit for any concession.
His extradition request to the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) was sent on September 23, 1993 which was remitted back by the U.S. on May 9, 2002 requesting CBI to re-examine the matter, a CBI official said.
A revised extradition request along with an arrest warrant against Mr. Anderson was sent to U.S. on December 13, 2002, he said.
After this, the CJM’s court here had again issued arrest warrant against Mr. Anderson on July 22 last year, he said, adding the matter was being pursued with the U.S. authorities through MEA.
Apart from Mr. Anderson, representatives of Union Carbide Corporation, U.S. and Union Carbide Eastern, Hong Kong, which were named as accused, also had not attended the trial.