Chief Secretary told us to release Warren Anderson, says former Bhopal DC

     Former District Collector of Bhopal Moti Singh on Wednesday said he and the State police were asked to release Warren Anderson, the chairman of Union Carbide Worldwide, after the Bhopal Gas Tragedy by the then Madhya Pradesh Chief Secretary Brahm Swaroop. Singh said Anderson was released under the given orders on December 7, 1984. "On December 7, 1984, Warren Anderson, Keshub Mahindra and Vijay Gokhale came by a service flight from Mumbai to Bhopal. This information was given to us by former Chief Minister Arjun Singh when he called us to his house. We left for the airport immediately and took them into our custody," said Singh. "We brought them to the Union Carbide guesthouse and told them that they were arrested. They were then put into three different rooms. The police then completed the arrest procedure. Later at around 2 in the afternoon Chief Secretary, Brahm Swaroop called me and the police and said that we have to release Warren Anderson," he added. Singh further said Warren Anderson was sent back to New Delhi by the State plane. "We left for the guest house again. We couldn't release them without completing the bail procedure. They were released under the Union Carbide employee and put into a State plane and sent to New Delhi," said Singh. Earlier on Tuesday, a former Central Bureau of Investigation officer B R Lal claimed that he had been advised by the External Affairs Ministry not to pursue the Bhopal gas tragedy case thoroughly, particularly, in context of extradition of the head of the Union Carbide, Warren Anderson. Lal said that he just followed the instructions from the Ministry that the extradition proceedings should not be pursued. "The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) received a letter from the Ministry of External Affairs that the extradition proceedings should not be pursued; obviously the government's intention was to not include Anderson," said Lal. "I do not know what the agreement was between the two countries on the issue. And anyway, in a country like ours, no investigations can be done against the rich and people with high contacts," he added. B R Lal also said that he had opposed the decision of the ministry and did not know what happened to the case since was transferred and posted elsewhere. On Monday, a District Magistrate's Court in Bhopal had convicted all eight accused on grounds of negligence under Section 304 (a) for the tragedy. The court also granted bail to seven of the eight accused and released them on submission of a bond and a surety of Rs 25,000 each. The eight accused are Keshub Mahendra, Vijay Gokhle, Kishore Kamdar, J Mukund, S P Choudhary, K V Shetty and S I Qureshi and R B Roy Choudhary. Out of the accused R B Roy Choudhary, then former Assistant Works Manager Union Carbide India Ltd (UCIL), Mumbai, died during the trial. Warren Anderson, the chairman of Union Carbide Worldwide, has been designated as absconder.

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