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Focus on relief not on extradition: Sorabjee

Jun 11, 2010 12:17 PM IST Politics Politics

New Delhi: Seeking extradition of the main accused in the Bhopal gas tragedy Warren Anderson now may yield no result. Former Attorney General Soli Sorabjee says it is too late as successive governments slept over it.

CNN-IBN: As Attorney General of the country, why did you give opinion that it would be futile to seek the extradition of Warren Anderson?

Sorabjee: Before I gave my opinion, I had asked the ministry to obtain opinion of a reputable US legal firm that dealt with the matter. The US attorney gave some reasons, one of them being lapse of time. They sought evidence complying the US extradition law. They didn't think the requisite evidence was available for extraditing Andeson. It would be futile to make a request now.

CNN-IBN: Mr Sorabjee do you think the government of India should still pursue Anderson's extradition or, is it simply too late, 26 years later?

Sorabjee: He is about 90 or 91 years old. I don't know whether he has departed from the world. You may still do it and satisfy some critics, but I don't think it is likely to succeed. The focus should be on giving more compensation to the victims, timely relief to them, rather than on the quantum of punishment. Of course, the guilty should be punished but don't lose the focus. The more important thing is to initiate measures which would give them tangible benefit of more compensation in a timely fashion.

Diggy leaves Cong red faced

Meanwhile, comments of the senior Congress leader Digvijay Singh on the Bhopal gas tragedy has left his party red faced. He had said the then Madhya Pradesh government, led by Arjun Singh, had hardly any role to play in Warren Anderson leaving India. Rather, the state government acted on orders of the central government, pointing fingers at former Congress president Rajiv Gandhi who was the prime minister then.

So, how involved was the Rajiv government? There is still no formal reaction from the Congress party. Several government officials, who were posted in Bhopal during the tragedy, have confirmed that they were only acting on instructions.