Patna, June 12 (Calcutta Tube) Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) president Nitin Gadkari Saturday said the government should again move the Supreme Court and ‘aggressively seek a review of its judgement’ diluting the charges against the accused in he Bhopal gas tragedy.
In his inaugural address at the two-day national executive meet here, he said: ‘Bhopal has once again reminded the entire nation as to how Congress rulers, from time to time, are compromising with the interest of the people of India for personal and political gains’.
Terming the Bhopal gas verdict ‘a cruel joke by our criminal justice system,’ he said it was an example of how its ‘inherent weakness’ allows the culprit to escape and that ‘those swearing by ‘aam admi’ (common man) day in and day out are in fact stabbing the very common people in their back.’
The Supreme Court October 1991 partially upheld a 1989 pact between the Indian government and Union Carbide, absolving the company of all criminal and civil liabilities of the Bhopal gas tragedy on a payment of $470 million, and reinstated the criminal charges against the company.
It was only after this that the trial began in November 1991 in the court of the chief judicial magistrate in Bhopal. In 1993, the court charged eight accused of culpable homicide not amounting to murder, carrying a maximum punishment of 10 years in jail.
The eight accused moved the Madhya Pradesh High Court’s Jabalpur bench, challenging the decision to try them for a graver offence. As the high court rejected their contention, they approached the Supreme Court, which in 1996 acceded to their plea and dropped the charge of culpable homicide not amounting to murder against them.
BJP spokesman Ravi Shankar Prasad later told reporters here that the Congress must apologise to the nation for what happened in the Bhopal gas tragedy case. He said that the party will take up the issue across the country to ‘expose the Congress’.
Prasad labelled the United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government as the ‘Union Carbide Protect Agency’.
He also attacked the government and the then Madhya Pradesh chief minister Arjun Singh for maintaining silence over the issue and demanded they give an explanation.
‘Why is the Congress not telling the nation as to how Anderson was allowed to escape India,’ he asked.