Monday, June 14, 2010

Raajneeti: Indian bureaucrats who reportedly figure in Anderson’s great escape saga

Warren Anderson, Son of Sri John Martin Anderson, Former Chairman, Carbide Corporation, 39, Old Ridgebury Road, Danbury USA 06817 (Absconder) --- From Bhopal Gas Verdict.

AS then Union Carbide CEO Warren Anderson’s great escape from India has raised several questions including a possible involvement of then Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi, an interesting question is whether key bureaucrats of then Arjun Singh’s government in Madhya Pradesh or in PMO in New Delhi, took part in the script of the dramatic escape of the key accused of the world’s largest industrial disaster that took place in Bhopal in December 1984.
Here are the key bureaucrats who could have known the sequence of events leading to Mr Anderson fleeing the country on December 7, 1984.

PC Alexander: 1948 batch IAS officer who was the principal secretary to PM during the disaster. He served as principal secretary (1981-84) both to Indira Gandhi and Rajiv Gandhi. Later, Mr Alexander became the governor of Maharashtra and was also a strong contender for the post of President of India during the NDA regime.
After the Bhopal verdict came, Mr Alexander hinted that then Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi might have a role in Mr Anderson’s release. Law minister M Veerappa Moily slammed Mr Alexander’s statement saying that he is a new convert to the BJP-Shiv Sena camp. Later, Mr Alexander denied his statement.

Moti Singh: He was the Bhopal collector during the disaster. He is not talking too much to the media after the court verdict, but he cannot back-track his earlier position after writing two books on the disaster and appearing in TV interviews, saying how he acted on his senior’s request to release Warren Anderson. His book, ‘Bhopal Gas Trasadi Ka Sach’ has all details of Mr Anderson’s great escape.

Swaraj Puri: Then Bhopal Superintendent of Police who allegedly drove the Ambassador car carrying Mr Anderson to the airport before he could take a special flight to New Delhi. Later in a BBC interview, he wished Anderson had lived in Bhopal at the time and had “been through what we’ve been through, seen what we’ve seen and suffered what we did”. Mr Puri, who was born on the Independence Day of India, 15th August 1947 later rose to become Director General of Police of Madhya Pradesh. He received a medal for gallantry by the President of India for his contribution during the world’s largest chemical disaster of December 1984.

Brahm Swarup: Then chief secretary of Madhya Pradesh who reported carried out the order of Arjun Singh. Then Bhopal collector Moti Singh told an Indian TV channel NDTV: “The chief secretary at that time called me to the room and told me to arrange for the departure of Warren Anderson.”

RC Jain: Then agriculture secretary was the first bureaucrat who told investigators of the Bhopal gas leakage case that then chief minister Arjun Singh had issued orders to make arrangements for Warren Anderson to escape the scene in a state government airplane. Mr Jain had claimed that he was with then chief secretary Brahma Swaroop when CM called Mr Swaroop to organise an early release of Mr Anderson. Arjun Singh reportedly told Mr Swaroop that Rajiv Gandhi was under pressure from the then US president Ronald Reagan.
(Disclaimer: The Raajneeti photograph is symbolic)

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