The Madhya Pradesh High Court today quashed a lower court order to register a case against two former officers for allegedly helping Union Carbide CEO Warren Anderson escape India after the Bhopal gas tragedy.
The order by Justice SK Palo came on petitions filed by then Bhopal superintendent of police Swaraj Puri and then collector Moti Singh, their lawyer AP Singh said.
Anderson, the main accused in the deadly 1984 gas leak case, had obtained bail from a court, and the bail conditions did not state that he was not to leave the country, advocate Singh contended before the judge.
Puri and Singh took him to the airport safely as part of their duty and thus committed no crime, the lawyer said.
The high court noted that the CJM court took cognisance of the petition seeking to make Puri and Singh accused 26 years after the incident, and quashed the lower court's order, he added. The plea before the lower court was filed in 2010.
Activist Abdul Jabbar had filed a petition in the CJM court, demanding criminal action against the two former officers for allegedly helping Anderson escape from India.
Anderson, the prime accused in the gas leak case, never returned to face trial. He died in the US in 2013.
On November 19, 2016 the CJM ordered registration of a case against Moti Singh and Swaraj Puri under IPC sections 212 (harbouring offender) and 217 (public servant disobeying direction of law with intent to save person from punishment).
A toxic gas leaked from a pesticide factory of Union Carbide in Bhopal on the night of December 2-3, 1984 killed about 3,000 people immediately. Besides, thousands of others suffered adverse health effects.