India may Extradite Ex-Union Carbide Chief over Bhopal Tragedy
June 21, 2010
According to the Associated Press, Indian ministers have called for the government to extradite the former head of Union Carbide and pursue liability claims against Dow Chemical as part of a new push for justice in the1984 toxic gas leak that killed 15,000 people. Anger over the world''s worst industrial disaster was revived this month after a court convicted seven former senior employees of the company''s Indian subsidiary of "death by negligence" and sentenced them to two years in prison. Many in India saw the verdict as far too light a punishment for the tragedy, and the government formed a panel of ministers to revisit the case. The ministers completed their report and the full Cabinet was to meet in a special session to consider the recommendations. The report called for the government to renew its efforts to pursue the extradition of former Union Carbide chief Warren Anderson, who had been arrested and quickly released when he visited India soon after the tragedy, government officials said. Indian media reports said the panel also called on the government to pursue liability claims against Dow Chemical Co., which took over Union Carbide in 2001 seven years after Union Carbide sold its interest in the Bhopal plant. In 1989, Union Carbide paid $470 million in compensation to the Indian government and said officials were responsible for the cleanup. Dow maintains that the 1989 settlement resolved the legal case. Under the ministers'' proposal the families of those killed also would receive 1 million rupees ($22,000) each and the government would spend 3 billion rupees ($65 million) to clean up the factory.