Five Bhopal gas tragedy convicts get bail

Bhopal, July 6 (Calcutta Tube) A court here Tuesday granted regular bail to five convicts in the 1984 Bhopal gas tragedy, the world’s worst industrial disaster.

Chief Judicial Magistrate R.V. Singh gave the reprieve to the convicts, who included 85-year-old Keshub Mahindra, the then head of the Union Carbide India Ltd (UCIL).

Tonnes of lethal gas leaked from UCIL’s pesticide plant on the night of Dec 2-3, 1984, killing and maiming thousands.

Seven people were convicted June 7 by a chief judicial magistrate (CJM) court that sentenced them to two years jail and imposed a fine of Rs.100,000.

They had managed get bail within an hour of the verdict, sparking outrage in the country.

After the court proceedings Tuesday, Mahindra said: ‘I am not accepting the CJM court’s verdict (June 7) on the sentence. Hence, I decided to challenge it.’

Mahindra, who was dressed in black suit, told reporters that ‘whatever happened with them (people of Bhopal) in Dec 1984 was terrible’.

He added that he wanted to work for the gas victims.

Besides Mahindra, bail was granted to former managing director Vijay Gokhale, former works manager J. Mukund, former production manager S.P. Chaudhary and former vice president Kishor Kamdar.

The convicts were given bail after they furnished bail bonds of Rs.1 lakh each in the court.

The plant superintendent K.V. Shetty and operator S.I. Qureshi failed to get bail as they were not present physically in the court.

The bail was granted after the convicts filed an appeal against the June 7 verdict.

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