A Bhopal sessions court adjourned hearing on the petition challenging the trial court's verdict awarding 2 years' imprisonment to seven Union Carbide executives, including its former India Chairman Keshub Mahindra, in Bhopal gas tragedy case. District and Sessions Court Judge Subhash Kakde will hear the submissions on Wednesday.
Earlier, no sooner had hearing on the appeal begun, the NGOs working for the gas tragedy survivors, along with others, opposed it. Central Bureau of Investigation counsel Hemant Shukla said he has not yet received a copy of the appeal and thus can't speak on the issue.
Senior prosecutor Dinesh Dinkar, representing Madhya Pradesh government, opposed the plea and contended the punishment of two years' imprisonment awarded to the convicts was too little as compared to the magnitude of the tragedy.
The petition was filed by defence counsel, Ajay Gupta, on behalf of the seven convicted executives of Union Carbide under section 374 of the Criminal Procedure Code under which an appeal can be filed in the sessions court against the order.
In the petition, the convicts' contended they be absolved of all charges in Bhopal Gas disaster case as the incident, which took place on the intervening nights of December 2-3, 1984, "was merely an accident and not an act of negligence." Chief Judicial Magistrate Mohan P Tiwari had on June 7 awarded sentences against former Chairman of Union Carbide India Limited Keshub Mahindra, former Managing Director Vijay Gokhle, former Vice President Kishore Kamdar, former Works Manager J Mukund, former Production Manager S P Choudhary, former Plant Superintendent K V Shetty and former Operator SI Qureshi.
They were awarded two-year imprisonment under relevant sections of IPC. A fine of Rs 1,01,750 under different sections was also imposed on them.