In the midst of the political storm over the Bhopal tragedy case verdict, the records of the trial court show that the Central Bureau of Investigation had sought the dilution of the stringent charges against Union Carbide Corporation's Chief Executive Officer Warren Anderson, on the lines of the relief given by the Supreme Court in the case against the Indian accused.
In 2002, the CBI had filed an application in the court seeking that the charge under Section 304 II of the Indian Penal Code (culpable homicide not amounting to murder) against Anderson be changed to section 304 (A) (causing death by negligence). While Section 304 II entails a maximum of 10 years imprisonment, Section 304 provides for a two-year jail term.
The CBI had moved the CJM's court six years after the Supreme Court had watered down the charge against seven Indian accused in the case under Section 304 II to 304 (a). Anderson had not appeared before any court after he returned to the United States in December 1984 and his case was de-linked from that of the other accused.
However, Chief Judicial Magistrate Rameshwar Kothe had on August 28, 2002, dismissed the CBI plea and directed it to inform the court about the steps being taken by it to get Anderson extradited from the US.
The court had dismissed the CBI application after interveners in the case, including NGO Bhopal Gas Peedit Mahila Udyog Sangathan, had argued that if section 304 II was diluted to 304 (a) against Anderson, his extradition will become impossible as the case will get reduced to that a minor accident.
Also, the interveners had argued before the trial judge that the CBI plea should be dismissed as Anderson had never appeared in the court for trial and he was not fit for any concession.
His extradition request to the ministry of external affairs was sent on September 23, 1993 and was remitted back by the US on May 9, 2002, requesting CBI to re-examine the matter.
A revised extradition request along with an arrest warrant against Anderson was sent to US on December 13, 2002.
After this, the CJM's court had again issued an arrest warrant against Anderson on July 22 last year, said a CBI official, adding that the matter was being pursued with the US authorities through the MEA.
Apart from Anderson, representatives of Union Carbide Corporation, US and Union Carbide Eastern, Hong Kong, which were named as accused, also had not attended the trial.