Warren Anderson, former chairman of the American company Union Carbide Corp responsible for the 1984 Bhopal gas tragedy, is yet to be extradited to India, Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) officials said on Monday.
On Monday, a Bhopal trial court convicted eight Indian officials of Union Carbide for their criminal negligence in the gas disaster. The men were sentenced two years in prison and fined 100,000 rupees, or $2,100. The convictions were announced after a quarter-century-long court battle. Initially the defendants were charged with culpable homicide, which carries a maximum sentence of 10 years, but India’s Supreme Court reduced the charges.
Officials said law is yet to catch up with Anderson and other company officials belonging to the US. Anderson is nearly 90 years old now, and is thought to be residing in the US.
Anderson was charged with culpable homicide not amounting to murder, grievous assault and killing and poisoning human beings and animals due to leakage of the deadly methyl-iso-cyanate (MIC) gas from the Union Carbide’s pesticide plant in Bhopal.
A pact between the central government and Union Carbide derailed the prosecution by absolving Union Carbide of all criminal and civil liabilities of the disaster for a payment of $470 million.
On a lawsuit challenging the central government’s pact with Union Carbide, the Supreme Court Oct 3, 1991, revoked criminal immunity granted to the UCC and all other accused in the case. This allowed Bhopal’s chief judicial magistrate to resume trial of all the accused – Indians and foreigners, including Anderson, Nov 11, 1991.
The central government in May-June 2003 sent requests to the US state and justice departments for extradition Anderson. But the US, in July 2004, rejected India’s request.
The extradition treaty between the US and India states that the offense is extraditable if punishable under the laws in both contracting parties by imprisonments for more than one year or by a more severe penalty.
Douglas McNabb and other members of the firm practice and write extensively on matters involving Federal Criminal Defense, Interpol Litigation, International Extradition and OFAC Litigation.
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