"Surely justice has been done." This was how the Chief Judicial Magistrate Mohan P Tiwari responded to queries by newsmen when asked whether justice has been done in the Bhopal Gas disaster case after eight accused including former Union Carbide India Chairman Keshub Mahindra were let off lightly on Monday.
Incidentally, it was the last working day for Tiwari as CJM since he has been promoted as the Additional District Judge and will assume the new office on Tuesday.
Tiwari declined answer question on how bail was granted to the eight persons immediately after they were convicted and sentenced to a two-year jail term.
"I can't say anything. These are the provisions of the law," he said.
Judge Tiwari pronounced the verdict in a packed court room convicting 85-year-old Mahindra, the non-executive former Chairman of UCIL, and seven others in the case relating to leakage of deadly methyl isocyanate gas in the night intervening Dec 2 and 3, 1984.
They were held guilty under Sections 304-A (causing death by negligence) and 336, 337 and 338 (gross negligence) of the Indian Penal Code.(
Others sentenced were Vijay Gokhle, the then Managing Director of UCIL, Kishore Kamdar, the then Vice President, J N Mukund, the then Works Manager, S P Choudhary, the then Production Manager, K V Shetty, the then Plant Superintendent and S I Quereshi, the then Production Assistant.
All the convicts applied for bail immediately after the sentencing and were granted relief on a surety of Rs 25,000 each. PTI