The Hindu archives refute GoM's Rajiv Gandhi claim

June 26, 2010 02:47 am | Updated November 28, 2021 09:04 pm IST - NEW DELHI

The government is not only officially ignorant of the former Union Carbide chief, Warren Anderson's 1984 visit to India, but also, in citing “contemporary media reports” to suggest Rajiv Gandhi played no role, it clearly ignored The Hindu .

The Group of Ministers report claims “contemporary media reports also indicate that the Prime Minister, Shri Rajiv Gandhi, was briefed on the matter [of the UCC chief's arrival, arrest and departure] after Anderson left the country.”

But on December 7, 1984, The Hindu 's New Delhi bureau chief G.K. Reddy filed a report, saying the Prime Minister's “Principal Secretary Dr. P. C. Alexander brought the facts to his notice today while he was still in Madhya Pradesh, before the Centre intervened to secure Mr. Anderson's release and arrange for his flight to Delhi later that night.”

Clearly, The Hindu 's “contemporary” report indicates that Rajiv Gandhi was informed even before Mr. Anderson left the guest house in Bhopal, and certainly before he left India, in direct contradiction of the GoM claim.

The Hindu 's December 8 report speaks of the “deplorable lack of coordination between the Central and State governments” regarding the arrest and release of Mr. Anderson, despite the safe conduct assurances given to him.

Reddy wrote: “The Prime Minister, Mr. Rajiv Gandhi, spent last night [December 7] in Sagar in Madhya Pradesh and it is highly unlikely that the Chief Minister would have taken this action without informing him. It is quite possible that Mr. Rajiv Gandhi was not aware of the safe conduct assurance given to Mr. Anderson before he left the U.S. for India, since the Prime Minister had been away from Delhi campaigning in different States.”

Reddy's report then goes on to say that the Principal Secretary informed the Prime Minister of the facts before the Central government's intervention to release Mr. Anderson.

In an interview to CNN-IBN's Karan Thapar on June 17, 2010, the then Foreign Secretary, M.K. Rasgotra, corroborated this by indicating that while Rajiv Gandhi was out of Delhi and hence not consulted before safe passage was granted to Mr. Anderson, he was afterwards fully informed and he made no objection.

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