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GoM to probe circumstances that led to disaster

Source: PTI
Last updated on: June 14, 2010 15:14 IST
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As the prime minister asked the Group of Ministers on Bhopal tragedy to meet immediately, Health Minister Ghulam Nabi Azad, who is a member of the GoM, said on Monday that the panel can probe under what circumstances the industrial disaster took place and how the punishment for the culprits was reduced.

"It can be probed under which circumstances it happened and under what circumstances he (Warren Anderson former Chairman of the Union Carbide) had to leave. What were the causes and how the punishment was reduced," Azad told the media on the sidelines of a function here.

"Till now the GoM meeting has not been held. So I cannot discuss anything," he said.

The GoM on the gas leak, headed by Union Home Minister P Chidambaram, has Law Minister M Veerappa Moily, Chemicals and Fertilisers Minister M K Alagiri, Urban Development Minister S Jaipal Reddy, Science and Technology Minister Prithviraj Chauhan and Housing and Urban Poverty Alleviation Minister Kumari Selja as its members.

The minister said that when a meeting of the GoM will be held then, "we will be briefed by some competent authority which has been associated with this right through. Then we will come to some conclusions and definitely we will brief you".

Asked whether then Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Arjun Singh should come out with his version on the issue, Azad said, "You can't force anybody to speak the truth".

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has directed the GoM headed by Home Minister P Chidambaram to meet "immediately" and report to the Cabinet within 10 days.

The GoM has been asked to assess the options and remedies available to the government in the light of the Bhopal court's verdict in the gas tragedy case.

The GoM was reconstituted last week to go into a range of issues including the relief and rehabilitation of victims and their families.

Nearly 26 years after the disaster left over 15,000 dead, former Union Carbide India Chairman Keshub Mahindra and six others were sentenced to two years imprisonment.

After Union Carbide chief Warren Anderson was allowed to leave the country, the opposition slammed the then Congress governments both at the Centre and the state on the issue.

Senior Congress leader Arjun Singh, who was Madhya Pradesh chief minister in 1984, has faced flak from both within the Congress as also other parties on the exit of Anderson.
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