Tag Archives: criminal trial

Dow lawyers fill Bhopal court in criminal liability case, Railway Men series still being written, says Bhopal group

Press Statement, Bhopal, November 25.

In the court of Judicial Magistrate First Class (JMFC), Vidhan Maheshwari, a group of 10 lawyers appeared today on behalf of Dow Chemical to deny that, by this appearance, Dow was accepting the jurisdiction of the court.

The criminal proceedings, from which Carbide has been a proclaimed absconder for 31 years, concern the culpable homicide of thousands arising from Dow subsidiary Union Carbide’s 1984 gas disaster in Bhopal.

Continue reading Dow lawyers fill Bhopal court in criminal liability case, Railway Men series still being written, says Bhopal group

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Dow ‘appears’ in Bhopal criminal court after two decade delay

Press Statement
3 October 2023

Today, the authorised representative of Dow Chemical USA, Ms. Amy Wilson has filed a so-called partial appearance before the court of Hon. VII CIVIL JUDGE-I Vidhan Maheshwari through its lawyers. Dow filed a one page memo stating that Bhopal Court does not have jurisdiction over the corporation as it is an American corporation and it sought more time from the court.

The Hon’ble Judge also listened to the argument of the lawyer of Bhopal Group for Information & Action, Mr. Avi Singh who stated that under criminal jurisprudence there is no such thing as ‘partial appearance’. He further added that if Dow is not challenging the summons of the Bhopal District court then it cannot enter into partial appearance and if the Authorised Representative does not appear in person then the court has the power to issue a bailable warrant and/or proceed to hear the application in absentia of Dow Chemical.

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Survivor Orgs Celebrate as Bhopal Court’s Summon is Served Upon Dow, Demand CBI to Ensure Speedy Prosecution

Press Conference
October 2, 2023

At a Press Conference today, four organizations of the survivors of the Union Carbide disaster celebrated their success in having the summons of the Bhopal District Court served upon The Dow Chemical Company in the criminal case arising out of the December 1984 gas disaster. They demanded that the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) ensure speedy prosecution of the US corporation, that owns Union Carbide, for exemplary punishment for sheltering a fugitive from justice for the last 22 years.

Continue reading Survivor Orgs Celebrate as Bhopal Court’s Summon is Served Upon Dow, Demand CBI to Ensure Speedy Prosecution

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Bhopal District Judge orders UCIL & its convicted officials to present all its arguments from 25-29 April 2022

Press Release
26 March 2022

The organisations working with the survivors of the December 84 Union Carbide disaster are hopeful that there will be an end to the long drawn out criminal appeal proceedings pending against Union Carbide India Limited, & 7 of its Indian officials since 2010. In a hearing held on 25 March 2022, the District Judge of Bhopal has granted another date for hearing to Union Carbide and its convicted officials to present their final arguments from April 25-29, 2022 from 11am-12:30pm, and has also ordered to list the matter for final judgement on 24 May 2022.

Continue reading Bhopal District Judge orders UCIL & its convicted officials to present all its arguments from 25-29 April 2022

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Doubts ahead of Bhopal gas verdict


Bhopal, June 5: The 23-year-old criminal trial of the Bhopal gas tragedy will see the verdict delivered on Monday, but survivors fear the “glaring omissions” by prosecuting agency CBI may deny them justice.

Several Indian officials of Union Carbide India Limited (UCIL) will be in court on June 7 as the accused in one of the country’s longest criminal cases. But missing will be all the foreign accused, including the then chairman of the US-based Union Carbide, Warren Anderson.

“I hope the guilty will be punished but when I look at the lacklustre way the CBI fought the case, I fear the worst. The guilty may escape simply because the prosecuting agency had little inclination to punish them,” said Abdul Jabbar, convener of the Bhopal Gas Peedit Mahila Udyog Sangathan.

“In this era of liberalisation and global trade, not many are willing to punish a big company fearing it will discourage foreign investment.”

Thousands were killed when methyl isocyanate gas and other toxins leaked from the Union Carbide plant here on the night of December 2-3, 1984, in what is considered the world’s worst industrial disaster.

The trial has involved 178 prosecution witnesses and 3,008 documents, with the CBI seeking to blame the leak on the chemical plant’s defective design and poor maintenance.

Chief judicial magistrate Mohan Tiwari will decide if the accused are guilty of causing death by criminal negligence, an offence that can bring a two-year jail term.

Some survivors, however, plan to award the “capital punishment” to the accused by hanging their effigies at public places. “The idea is to provide some solace to the survivors,” said Shamshad Bi, who lost close relatives in the tragedy.

NGOs working with the survivors want the Prime Minister to create a special cell to get the accused foreigners, including some from Union Carbide’s Hong Kong subsidiary, handed over to India and punished.

“How can justice be delivered if the principal accused, Warren Anderson, is not brought to trial?” Jabbar asked.

The Indian accused include former UCIL officials such as Keshub Mahendra (then chairman), Vijay Gokhle (managing director), Kishore Kamdar (vice-president), J. Mukund (works manager), S.P. Choudhary (production manager), K.V. Shetty (plant superintendent) and S.I. Qureshi (production assistant).

The police have made security arrangements to ensure the accused are not attacked inside or outside the court premises.

Rachna Dhingra and Satinath Sarangi, representing the Bhopal Group for Information and Action, blamed the Centre for the prosecution’s “criminal negligence”.

The CBI did not try to execute the two warrants issued against Anderson by the Bhopal court, in 1992 and 2009. Nor did it appeal the Supreme Court order of 1996 diluting the charges from culpable homicide, punishable by 10 years in jail, to a life term.

The agency failed to present evidence that the Indian accused took several steps that undermined the plant’s operational safety. The CBI is also accused of ignoring important witnesses and seeking repeated adjournments that slowed the trial.

The gas leak had killed an estimated 8,000 people in three days, a further 15,000 had died of the gas’s long-term effects, and some 100,000 continue to suffer “chronic and debilitating illnesses”, Amnesty International had reported in 2004. Even now, thousands are forced to drink the toxic water in the area around the plant.

The NGOs want Dow Chemicals, which has taken over Union Carbide, to clean up the site. But Dow is unwilling to do so on the ground that all liabilities relating to the disaster were settled when Union Carbide concluded a $470-million compensation settlement in 1989.

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