Anderson did not meet Zail Singh: Prez Secretariat

Former Union Carbide chief came to India 3 days after Bhopal tragedy
Last Updated 25 July 2010, 19:16 IST

Contrary to suggestions by some political leaders that Anderson had met Zail Singh before he left for the US, the Rashtrapati Bhavan has said that no such meeting had taken place.

Replying to an RTI application seeking to know if Anderson met the then President during December 6-8, 1984, the secretariat said, "No".

Zail Singh had 11 appointments on December 6, 1984 which included a delegation of government of Japan's economic division comprising 60 people, the reply to RTI applicant Abhishek Shukla said.

On the next day, when Anderson came to Delhi from Bhopal after securing bail and went back to the United States, Singh had nine appointments which did not include Anderson.
On December 8, 1984 which was Saturday, there was no appointment lined up for the President.

The President's Secretariat could not trace any condolence message of Giani Zail Singh issued in the aftermath of the Bhopal tragedy.

Anderson came to India three days after leak of poisonous gas Methyl Isocyanate that killed over 15,000 people in the worst industrial disaster of the country.

He was arrested by the Madhya Pradesh Police and made an accused in the case. Anderson managed to get bail from the local court and was sent to Delhi in a state government plane on December 7, 1984.

Then Chief Minister Arjun Singh has claimed that the decision to let go Anderson was taken in the view of worsening law and order situation in the disaster-hit city.

According to reports, Anderson had allegedly met Giani Zail Singh before leaving the country. Close aide of the then Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi, Arun Nehru had also indicated in his interviews that Anderson met the President.

In its reply, the secretariat expressed its inability to give the details of procedure adopted in 1984 to give appointment with the President saying "no records were available" in this regard.

The RTI applicant had sought to know details of all the visitors at Rashtrapati Bhavan who met Zail Singh during December 6-8, 1984.

He had also asked if an individual named Warren Anderson met the then President anytime during December 6-8, 1984 and sought minutes of the meeting. The applicant had asked the President's Secretariat the procedure of background check adopted before giving appointment with the President.

(Published 25 July 2010, 10:33 IST)

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