Saturday, December 31, 2011

Bhopal Gas Leak Case [criminal]

Bhopal Gas Leak Case:The gist of  the case :

IN THE COURT OF CHIEF JUDICIAL MAGISTRATE BHOPAL MP (Presided By Mohan P.Tiwari)

State of MP Vs. Warren Anderson & others Cr. Case No. 8460 / 1996




Names of Accused :

  1.  Sri Warren Anderson S/O Sri John Martin Anderson Former Chairman, Union Carbide Corporation,Danbury Connecticut ,USA(declared Absconder)
  2. Sri Keshub Mahindra ,Chairman, Union Carbide India Ltd. Bhopal,
  3. Sri Vijay Prbhaker GokhleManaging Director,Union Carbide India Ltd 
  4. Sri Kishore Kamdaar,Vice President i/c AP Division UnionCarbide India Ltd 
  5. Sri J. Mukund former Works Manager AP Division Union Carbide India Ltd., 
  6. SriDr.R.B.Roy Choudhary (dead) Asst.Works Manager AP Division Union Carbide India Ltd. , 
  7. SriS.P.Choudhary, Production Manager AP Division Union Carbide India Ltd. , 
  8. Sri KV Shetty PlantSuperintendent Works Manager AP Division Union Carbide India Ltd. Bhopal
  9. Sri SI Qureshi former Operator AP Division Union Carbide India Ltd 
[ All were employed in the Union Carbide of India Limited (In short UCIL)



Accused Charged under :


All Accused persons  charged under Section 304A 336,337 and S.338 r/w section 35 of Indian Penal Code 1860.

History of UCIL :
Union Carbide India Ltd.(in short UCIL) is a subsidiary company of the Union Carbide Corporation (in short UCC) USA. UCE Inc. was the Regional Office of UCC, USA which controlled the UCIL, India and others. The UCIL was incorporated on 24th December, 1959. 

The UCC was a major shareholder with 50.9% of the share holdings in the UCIL UCIL Bhopal Plant pesticide under brand name Sevin and Temik were manufactured with the help of MIC,Phosgene &Chloroform.

It is stated There were three storage tanks in the plant for the storage of liquid MIC. These tanks were designated as E610, E611 and E619. 

Cause of Action/Date of Accident :  
On the intervening night of 2nd and 3rd Dec.1984 from the tank no. E610 a huge quantity of MIC-Methyle Isocynate (CH3 N=C=O)(MIC)escaped which caused the death immediately of thousands of humans beings and also caused simple and grevious injuries to a number of people, some of whom became permanently disabled and the number of effected persons is near about 5 lacs.Thousands of animals and other creatures had also been effected.

Case was Registered: 

The case was registered with P.S.Hanumanganj, Bhopal on 02.12.1984 at crime No.1104/84 dt. 03.12.84 u/s 304A IPC by the then SHO Surinder Singh ,on 6.12.84 , a case was registered with CBI as RC.3/84ACUI

Expert Team Investigation :


Team of scientists headed by Dr. S.Vardarajan Director General of CSIR with other scientists, the facts were noticed that MIC was stored in large quantities, the valves and other pipelines used in the UCIL, Bhopal were made up of Iron Steel, Galvanized Iron, Aluminium, Zinc, Copper or their alloys and a fact also revealed that possible entry of water into the Tank 610 when the water washing was going on.


CBI Filed Charge sheet :

CBI filed this Charge Sheet u/s 304, 324, 326, 429 IPC R/W Section 35 of IPC against the accused persons, namely Shri Warren Anderson&others:Committed to Court of Sessions for the trial according to law vide Order dated 22.6.1992

Supreme Court Dilution of Charge: 


Hon'ble Supreme Court in Criminal Appeal No.1672/1996 dated 13.9.1996 directed that the case be tried u/s 304A of IPC and the matter was remanded to trial Court for trial u/s 304A, 336, 337, 338 and section 35 IPC Accordingly, the charges were framed.
Prosecution Witness/Accused were examined



Prosecution has examined 178 witnesses in their favour. accused persons have been examined u/s 313 Cr.P.C.

Accused Pleaded Innocent:

They have submited that :

  • They are not liable for any incident.They were even not present on the site when the gas leaked. 
  • They further submitted that it is a mistake of one or the other local employee of the UCIL. They further state that the factory was designed by the UCC,USA which is having expertize in the field of MIC based pesticides business through out the world having lot of experience, therefore, 
Hence ,they can not be held guilty for the alleged offense.

Points for Consideration by the court :
  • Whether on or about the night intervening 2nd & 3rd December, 1984 at Bhopal caused the death of 3828 or more people by doing an act to wit by running a defective plant of MIC a dangerous volatile and poisonous substance having a number of operational defects without reasonable care which resulted in leakage of the poisonous gas from tank No.610 of AP Division of UCIL Bhopal, which was a rash or negligent act not amounting to culpable homicide and sharing the common knowledge of the same did not do anything to avoid the escape of the gas. 

  • Whether the accused persons can be held guilty of the same negligible act by running the same defective plant of MIC without reasonable care and caution without informing the local people about the remedial precautions which resulted in the leakage of the gas from tank No.610 endangering human life and personal safety sharing the common knowledge.
  • Whether the accused persons can be held guilty of the same negligible act by running the same defective plant of MIC without reasonable care and caution without informing the local people about the remedial precautions which resulted in the leakage of the gas from tank No.610 endangering human life and personal safety sharing the common knowledge thereby causing simple injuries to the people.
  • Whether the accused persons can be held guilty of the same negligible act by running the same defective plant of MIC without reasonable care and caution without informing the local people about the remedial precautions which resulted in the leakage of the gas from tank No.610 endangering human life and personal safety sharing the common knowledge thereby causing grievous injuries to the people.


Sentence : 


The accused persons namely under section 304A
read with Section 35 IPC
 

(1)Sri Keshub Mahindra,

(2)Sri Vijay Prabhaker Gokhle.

(3)Sri Kishore Kamdaar,

(4)Sri J.Mukund

(5)Sri S.P.Choudhary,

(6)Sri KV Shetty

(7)Sri SI Qureshi, 

holding guilty for the offence punishable under sections 304A/ 35 of Indian Penal Code,1860 for an imprisonment of 2 years and fine of Rs.100,000.00 each, and  under section 336 Indian Penal Code, 1860 an imprisonment of 3 months.


Curative Petition Filed by CBI:


There was condemnation from all quarters as accused got away with[lesser punishment ] merely 2 yrs sentence for the grave crime ,which is regarded as  world most dangerous environmental disaster. 
The CBI filed curative petition in the Hon'ble Supreme Court on dilution of charge ,the same rejected by the Hon'ble court ,it was approached after the lapse of 15 yrs.



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