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Friday, 6 September, 2002, 13:37 GMT 14:37 UK
India to extradite Bhopal boss
Protesting victims of the Bhopal disaster
Bhopal was the world's worst chemical accident
Eighteen years after the Bhopal gas leak killed thousands of people in India, the government is seeking the extradition of the then head of the company responsible, Union Carbide.

Former Union Carbide chairman Warren Anderson
Anderson refuses to return to India
The government was evaluating the evidence against former chairman Warren Anderson, a US citizen, before applying for extradition, an official told reporters.

"The government of India is committed to seeking the extradition of Anderson," he said.

"The concerned agencies have been asked to strengthen the evidentiary details that link him to the Bhopal gas case so that the extradition request is successful," he added.

The official, who spoke to reporters on condition of anonymity, gave no time frame.

Seeking justice

Mr Anderson headed Union Carbide when methyl isocyanate gas leaked from its Bhopal plant on 2 December in 1984, killing 4,000 people within hours and about 10,000 since for related illnesses.

The Central Bureau of Investigation, India's criminal investigating body, has brought "culpable homicide" charges against Mr Anderson for cost-cutting at the plant which it claims lowered safety standards.

Last week a court in Bhopal threw out a request by Indian prosecutors to reduce the charges against Mr Anderson to "causing death by negligence".

Mr Andersen, who retired from Union Carbide in 1986 and is now about 80, faces up to 10 years imprisonment in India but has refused to appear in court since the case opened in 1991.

Moral responsibility

The company, which merged with Dow Chemical two years ago, made a $470m payment as part of an out-of-court civil settlement in 1989, but the criminal case is still pending.

Union Carbide accepted moral responsibility but claimed a disgruntled employee sabotaged the plant, which has never been proven.

Some victims have claimed the government's has not pursued Mr Andersen to maintain US-Indian relations and reassure foreign investors.

The government, which has served four summonses on Mr Anderson, has rejected the charge.

India and the US have had an extradition treaty since 1999.

See also:

05 Sep 02 | South Asia
30 Aug 02 | South Asia
28 Aug 02 | South Asia
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