With questions being raised over its role in Warren Anderson’s non-extradition in Bhopal gas tragedy case, the External Affairs Ministry on Wednesday said it has time and again requested for his extradition, which has been turned down by the U.S. for want of more “evidential links”.
Maintaining that the ministry has “renewed the request for an extradition on a number of occasions from the time it was first made in 2003 to September 2008, when the last request was made,” a senior official said the MEA will “proceed on the basis of the collective decision of the government” on the issue.
“We will proceed on the basis of the collective decision of the government now. The government of India will take a decision how to move forward, legal authorities will be consulted....Government of India will take a decision, and we will proceed accordingly,” the official said when asked if the MEA will renew its request once again.
The official said “it is not one single ministry in isolation” which takes a decision on such issues.
Referring to the response of the US to India’s request for extradition of former Union Carbide chief Anderson, the official said, “They have been saying that it is not possible to execute our request as it doesn’t meet the relevant provisions of India-US extradition treaty and basically it is evidential links they are looking for.
“We have been requesting the investigating agency to give us the needful additional information that would enable us to press for a review of American decision and thereby expedite the case for extradition,” the official said.
Then Ambassador to the U.S., Ronen Sen, had written to the CBI director saying that “we need more information if we are to take this request forward,” the official said.
Asked if there was a need to review the whole bilateral extradition treaty with the US, the official said, “I don’t think that is germane to the discussion at present.”
The official also asserted that “whatever has been done has been done on the basis of due diligence and consultations.”
Asked about the charges made by a senior CBI official involved with the probe into Bhopal gas leak case 26 years ago that a letter was written by MEA asking not to press for extradition of Anderson, the official said, “We are looking at our records and we have not come across any such letter.”
Nearly 26 years after world’s worst industrial disaster left over 15,000 dead in Bhopal, former Union Carbide India Chairman Keshub Mahindra and six others were sentenced to two years imprisonment on Monday.
The 89-year-old Anderson, the then Chairman of Union Carbide Corporation of U.S.A., who lives in the United States, appeared to have gone scot-free for the present as he is still an absconder and did not subject himself to trial. There was no word about him in the judgement of the Bhopal court.