Kolkata: Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee Sunday said that then Madhya Pradesh chief minister Arjun Singh had decided to send Union Carbide Corporation CEO Warren Anderson out of Bhopal in view of the deteriorating law and order situation after the gas tragedy in 1984.
Mukherjee, speaking to reporters here, quoted Arjun Singh's statement on Dec 8, 1984, five days after the gas leak at the Union Carbide India Ltd's pesticides unit in Bhopal that killed an estimated 25,000 people over the years.
'In his statement, Arjun Singh had clearly said there was deterioration of law and order... Therefore it was thought right to send him out of Bhopal. Arjun Singh made the statement Dec 8, 1984 as chief minister,' said Mukherjee, the number two in Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government.
On the question of extraditing Anderson, he said: 'The question of extradition has come up. We will explore the possibility of extradition.'
He refused to comment on the verdict delivered by the Chief Judicial Magistrate's Court in Bhopal June 7, but said the government will go to a 'higher judiciary'.
Singh has not broken his silence on issues related to the gas tragedy since the court June 7 convicted seven accused in the gas leak case. However, they were sentenced to a mere two years in jail and were immediately freed on bail.
Anderson, a proclaimed offender in India in the 1984 chemical disaster, is currently in the US.