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Congress rejects allegations against Rajiv govt. on Bhopal

Kochi: Congress leader Abhishek Singhvi at the state conference of the Indian Lawyers Congress on Saturday in Kochi.Photo:Vipin Chandran

Kochi: Congress leader Abhishek Singhvi at the state conference of the Indian Lawyers Congress on Saturday in Kochi.Photo:Vipin Chandran   | Photo Credit: Vipin Chandran

Congress has termed as “outrageous” and “ridiculous” the allegations that Rajiv Gandhi government had assured “safe passage” to Union Carbide Chief Warren Anderson before he came to India in the aftermath of the deadly 1984 Bhopal gas leakage that killed thousands.

“There is absolutely no evidence of any kind whatsoever direct or indirect to support this completely outrageous and ridiculous allegation,” Congress spokesperson Abhishek Manu Singhvi said at a press conference in Washington.

Earlier, the then Foreign Secretary M. K. Rasgotra gave a new twist to the raging controversy over the Bhopal gas tragedy by disclosing that the Home Ministry, under P. V. Narasimha Rao, had assured “safe passage” to Mr. Anderson before he came to India in the aftermath of the gas leakage.

“The allegation is purely political,” Mr. Singhvi claimed when asked about the statements coming from Mr. Rasgotra and the then Deputy Chief de Mission at the U.S. Embassy in New Delhi, Gordon Streeb, that the then Union Government had assured safe passage to Mr. Anderson during his trip to India.

“The Prime Minister of India does not deal with what every police constable does. There is absolutely no connectivity. “I would ask you a simple question: Why this gentleman is saying this for the first time after 25 years? Could he not find any other time to make this allegation? And why are those political parties picking up these on themes on the basis of allegations being made now. If there was slightest of evidence, these allegations would have been made earlier,” Mr. Singhvi said.

“There is now as you know a GoM. All those things deserve to be looked into... but certainly there is no place for such outrageous allegations. Because there is no basis, except that it creates a certain amount of political sensationalism and mockery by certain vested interest.”

“All is not lost, because there are procedures by which A, a review petition can be filed before the Supreme Court to consider reviewing a judgement passed by it years ago. B, the process of perusing that criminal proceedings in which he was declared a proclaimed offender can be restarted,” the Congress spokesman said.

No link between Bhopal and N-liability bill

Responding to a question, he said there is no connection between the Bhopal tragedy and the Nuclear Liability Bill pending in the Parliament.

“I do not see any reason to connect the two (Bhopal issue and Nuclear Liability Bill). Because the proposed Civil Nuclear Liability Bill is specifically restricted and operative in respect to suppliers and operators of nuclear parts. Nobody is suggesting that the Bhopal site involved a nuclear plant. Even if it is passed in whatever form, it (Nuclear Liability Bill) would have nothing to do with non-nuclear plant sites,” he said.

“It is a very specific bill, but obviously that bill will get all the inputs of all the stake holders and ultimately a decision based on all the stake holders would be taken. But I do not see any reason to connect it with Bhopal,” Mr.Singhvi said.

Mr. Singhvi is leading an all-party delegation of Members of Parliament to attend the annual India-Yale Parliamentary Leadership Programme in U.S.

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Printable version | Jul 9, 2020 5:40:50 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/Congress-rejects-allegations-against-Rajiv-govt.-on-Bhopal/article16258018.ece

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