09 June 2010

Pin It

Bhopal gas tragedy and investigation – Complete Report

Bhopal gas tragedy and investigation – Complete Report -

Reality Views by sm –

Wednesday, June 09, 2010

Updated on Tuesday, March 01, 2011 –

The Bhopal Gas disaster or Tragedy occurred in 1984 at the Union Carbide India Limited (UCIL) pesticide plant in Bhopal, Madhya Pradesh, India.

Bhopal Gas Disaster - Time Line

Regarding Shares -
50.9% was owned by Union Carbide Corporation (UCC) and 49.1% by various Indian investors
At the time, UCIL was the Indian subsidiary of the U.S. company Union Carbide Corporation (UCC), itself now a subsidiary of Dow Chemical Company.

2-3 December 1984 –
At midnight time -
Toxic methyl isocyanate gas releases from Union Carbide India Ltd's (UCIL) pesticide plant in Bhopal killing about 15,000 people and injuring at least five lakh others. Millions were left sick and the affected passed on the harmful effects of the gas to the next generations.

December 4, 1984 –

Police file a case against UCIL. A FIR in the tragedy was filed.

Chairman and CEO Warren Anderson, together with a technical team, depart to India from Connecticut USA, to assist the government in dealing with the incident.

Police arrest nine people regarding Bhopal disaster case.

Warren Anderson kept under house arrest. After this Chairman and CEO of US-based Union Carbide Corp. (UCC) Warren Anderson is released on bail and leaves India

6 December 1984 –

Case is transferred to the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI)

December 14, 1984 –
Warren Anderson testifies before Congress. He stresses UCC commitment to safety and promises to take actions to ensure that a similar incident “cannot happen again.”

February, 1985 –

India claims $3.3 billion from Union Carbide in an American court.

March, 1985 –

Bhopal Gas Leak Act
Government of India (GOI) enacts the Bhopal Gas Leak Disaster Act that enables the GOI to act as the legal representative of the victims in claims arising of or related to the Bhopal disaster.

UCC Technical team reports that a large volume of water was introduced into the MIC tank and triggered a reaction that resulted in the gas release. Independently, a committee of experts for the Indian government arrives at the same conclusion.

April, 1985 –

UCC offers $5 million in relief for victims before the U.S. District Court, bringing the total to date to $7 million.
Government of India rejects UCC offers of aid for Bhopal victims.

January, 1986 –

Union Carbide offers $10 million to the Indian government for building a hospital to aid the victims in Bhopal.

March, 1986 –

Union Carbide proposes a settlement amount of $350 million that will generate a fund for Bhopal victims of between $500-600 million over 20 years. Plaintiffs’ U.S. attorneys endorse amount.

May, 1886 –

U.S. District Court Judge transfers all Bhopal litigation to India. Decision is appealed.

January 1987 –

U.S. Court of Appeals Affirms Transfer of Litigation to India
The court rules that UCIL is a separate entity, owned, managed and operated exclusively by Indian citizens in India.

March, 1987 –

The Government of India closes and razes the Bhopal Technical and Vocational Training Center built by Arizona State University after determining that Union Carbide Corporation supplied funds for the project.

August, 1987 –

Union Carbide offers an additional $4.6 million in humanitarian interim relief for immediate rehabilitation of Bhopal victims.

December, 1987 –
CBI files chargesheet against Warren Anderson and other accused, including UCC (USA), Union Carbide (Eastern) Hong Kong, and UCIL. Summons served on Anderson and UCC on charges of culpable homicide.

The CBI filed the charge sheet after investigation and subsequently, the CJM framed charges against the accused under section 304 Part (II) (culpable homicide not amounting to murder), section 326 (voluntarily causing grievous hurt by dangerous weapons or means) and other relevant sections of IPC.

January to December 1988 –

Throughout 1988, arguments and appeals take place before the Indian Courts regarding compensation for the victims. In November, the Supreme Court of India asks the Government of India and UCC to reach a settlement, and tells both sides to “start with a clean slate.”

May 1988 –
Independent investigation by the engineering and consulting firm Arthur D. Little, Inc., concludes that the gas leak could only have been caused by sabotage; someone intentionally connected a water hose to the gas storage tank and caused a massive chemical reaction.

February 1989:
CJM, Bhopal, issues non-bailable warrant of arrest against Warren Anderson for repeatedly ignoring summons.

February 1989:
Indian government and Union Carbide strike an out-of-court deal and compensation of $ 470 million is given by Union Carbide.
The Supreme Court of India directs a final settlement of all Bhopal litigation in the amount of $470 million, to be paid by March 31, 1989. Both the Government of India and Union Carbide accept the court's direction. UCC pays $420 million; UCIL pays the rupee equivalent of $50 million (including $5 million of interim relief previously paid).
Within 10 days of the order, UCC and UCIL make full payment of the $470 million to the Government of India.

February - March 1989:
Public protest against the unjust settlement followed by filing of a number of review and writ petitions against the settlement in the Supreme Court by the Bhopal Gas Peedith Mahila Udyog Sangatan (BGPMUS), the Bhopal Gas Peedith Sangarsh Sahayog Samiti (BGPSSS) and other concerned groups.

May 1989 –
Supreme Court of India Renders Opinion
The Supreme Court, in a lengthy opinion, explains the rationale for the settlement and emphasizes that the compensation levels provided for in the settlement are substantially higher than those ordinarily payable under Indian law.

December, 1989 –
The Supreme Court upholds the validity of the “Bhopal Gas Leak Disaster Act of 1985” that authorized the Government of India to act on behalf of the Bhopal gas leak victims.

January – December 1990 –
Hearings are held throughout year on activist petitions to overturn the settlement agreement.

November, 1990 –
The State Government of Madhya Pradesh submits to the Supreme Court of India the completed categorization of the claims of all of the victims. The State determines that, in addition to the victims who suffered various levels of disabilities, the incident resulted in 3,828 deaths.

December, 1990 –
Supreme Court Hearings Conclude
Court concludes review of petitions seeking to overturn settlement.

October 1991 –
The Supreme Court of India upholds the civil settlement of $470 million in its entirety and sets aside portion of settlement that quashed criminal prosecutions that were pending at the time of settlement. The Court also:
• Requires Government of India to purchase, out of the settlement fund, a group medical insurance policy to cover 100,000 persons who may later develop symptoms;
• Requires Government of India to make up any shortfall, however unlikely, in settlement fund;
• Gives directions concerning the administration of settlement fund;
• Dismisses all outstanding petitions seeking review of settlement; and
• Requests UCC and UCIL to voluntarily fund capital and operating costs of a hospital in Bhopal for eight years, estimated at approximately $17 million, to be built on land donated by the state government.
UCC and UCIL agree to fund the hospital, as requested.
February 1992:
Anderson declared fugitive by law for ignoring court summons.
Part of $ 470 million disbursed among victims.

April 1992 –

UCC announces plans to sell its 50.9 percent interest in UCIL.

UCC establishes charitable trust to ensure its share of the funding to build a hospital in Bhopal and fund operations for up to eight years.

October 1993 –
The U.S. Supreme Court declines to hear appeal of lower court, thereby affirming that Bhopal victims may not sue for damages in U.S. courts.

April 1994 –
Supreme Court of India allows Union Carbide India Limited [UCC] so that assets can be used to build Bhopal hospital.

November 1994 –

Despite numerous petitions by survivors' groups, the Supreme Court allows Union Carbide to sell stake in UCIL to McLeod Russell (India) Ltd of Calcutta.
UCC completes the sale of its 50.9 percent interest in UCIL to McLeod Russell (India) Ltd. of Calcutta.

December 1994 –

UCC provides initial $20 million to charitable trust for Bhopal hospital.

October 1995 –

Hospital charitable trust begins facility construction in October 1995.
UCC provides approximately $90 million from the sale of all its UCIL stock.
By 1999, the trust has $100 million. Building is completed and physicians and medical staff are being selected. The hospital will have facilities for the treatment of eye, lung and heart problems.

September 13, 1996:
After the accused moved the Apex Court, it amended the charges to 304 (A) (causing death by negligence), 336 (acts endangering life or personal safety of others, 337 (causing hurt by endangering life or personal safety of others) and other sections of IPC.

August 1999:
Union Carbide announces merger with US-based Dow Chemicals.

November 1999:
International environment watchdog Greenpeace tests soil, groundwater and wells in and around the derelict Union Carbide factory and finds 12 volatile organic chemicals and mercury in quantities up to six million times higher than expected.

November 1999:
Several victims and survivors’ organizations file an action suit against Union Carbide and its former CEO, Warren Anderson, in federal court of New York, charging Carbide with violating international human rights law, environmental law, and international criminal law.

February 2001 –
Union Carbide refuses to take responsibility for former Indian arm's liabilities.

The Bhopal Memorial Hospital and Research Centre, funded largely by proceeds from UCC sale of all its UCIL stock, begins treating patients.

January 2002:
A study by Srishti and Toxics Links finds lead and mercury in breast milk of nursing mothers in communities near the plant.

June 2002:
Bhopal gas tragedy survivors launch a protest in New Delhi when they hear the Indian government plans to drop charges against Anderson.

August 2002:
Charges of culpable homicide are maintained against Anderson by Indian court, which demands his extradition to stand trial. Meanwhile, a British newspaper reports that Anderson is in New York after US authorities say they are unable to locate him.

October 2002:
Protests to clean up former UCIL factory site in Bhopal that activists say contains thousands of tonnes of toxic waste.

May 2003:
The Indian government formally conveys its request for extradition of Anderson to the US.

March 2004:
A US court says it could order Dow Chemicals to clean soil and ground water in the abandoned factory site if the Indian government provides a no objection certificate. The Indian government forwards the certificate to the United States.

June 2004:
The US rejects India’s request for extradition of Anderson saying the request does not “meet requirements of certain provisions” of the bilateral extradition treaty.
July 19, 2004:
India’s Supreme Court orders the Central Bank to pay out more than 15 billion rupees, part of the original $ 470 million received as compensation kept in the account since 1992.
Fifteen years after reaching settlement, the Supreme Court of India orders the Government of India to release all additional settlement funds to the victims. News reports indicate that there is approximately $327 million in the fund as a result of earned interest from money remaining after all claims had been paid.

October 25, 2004:
Bhopal gas victims protest the failure of the government to pay victim’s compensation.

October 26, 2004:
India’s Supreme Court sets deadline of November 15 to pay out the rest of $ 470 million paid by Union Carbide as compensation.

April 2005 –

The Supreme Court of India grants a request from the Welfare Commission for Bhopal Gas Victims and extends to April 30, 2006, the distribution of the rest of the settlement funds by the Welfare Commission. News reports indicate that approximately $390 million remains in the fund as a result of earned interest.

December 2005 –

U.S. Federal District Court dismisses two of three claims in Janki Bai Sahu case; this is damages for alleged personal injuries from exposure to contaminated water and remediation of the former UCIL plant site. (See Nov. 2006 for information on third claim.) Case originally was filed in November 2004.

August 2006 –
The Second Circuit Court of Appeals in New York upholds the dismissal of the remaining claims in the case of Bano vs. Union Carbide Corporation, thereby denying plaintiffs’ motions for class certification and claims for property damages and remediation of the Bhopal plant site by Union Carbide. The ruling reaffirms UCC’s long-held positions and finally puts to rest -- both procedurally and substantively – the issues raised in the class action complaint first filed against Union Carbide in 1999 by Haseena Bi and several organizations representing the residents of Bhopal, India.

September 2006 –

Indian media report states the “registrar in the office of Welfare Commissioner... said that all cases of initial compensation claims by victims of the 1984 Bhopal gas tragedy have been cleared…. With clearance of initial compensation claims and revision petitions, no case is pending.…”

November 2006 –

Federal District Court dismisses remaining claim in Janki Bai Sahu case, which sought to hold UCC liable for the acts of UCIL. Case originally was filed in November 2004. Two other claims associated with the case were dismissed in December 2005.

December 2006 –

Appeal Filed in Janki Bai Sahu Case
Plaintiffs file appeal in the case before Second Circuit Court of Appeals. Awaiting date for oral arguments.

March 2007 –

Jagarnath Sahu et al v. UCC and Warren Anderson seeks damages to clean up six individual properties allegedly polluted by contaminants from the Bhopal plant, as well as the remediation of property in 16 colonies adjoining the plant. Suit has been stayed pending resolution of appeal in Janki Bai Sahu case. This new suit may be dismissed if the Court of Appeals affirms the decision of the District Court in the pending appeal of the Janki Bai Sahu case.

May 2008 –
The Second Circuit Court of Appeals in New York hears oral arguments in Janki Bai Sahu appeals case. Original case filed in November 2004. Two claims associated with case were dismissed in December 2005 and the last remaining claim was dismissed in November 2006.

November 2008 –
Second Circuit Court of Appeals sends back the Janki Bai Sahu case to the U.S. District Court in Manhattan for limited further activity based strictly on procedural grounds. The Second Circuit did not discuss the merits of the case or the merits of the trial judge's ruling of dismissal.

February 2009 –
U.S. Federal District Court in New York declines to order mediation in the Janki Bai Sahu case as requested by plaintiffs. The ruling affirms Union Carbide’s position that after years of court proceedings, this case in now in its final stages and, given the time commitments already made the courts, the Sahu case should complete its course through the courts.

22 July 2009 –
Bhopal court issues new arrest warrant against Anderson. His trial is separated from others

June 7, 2010 –
The verdict in the case of

"Union of India through CBI versus Keshub Mahindra and others"

The Union Carbide subsidiary's former employees, all Indian nationals and many in their 70s, were sentenced to two years in prison and ordered to pay fines of 100,000 rupees ($2,175) apiece. All were released on bail shortly after the verdict

The names of those convicted are:

• Keshub Mahindra, former chairman of Union Carbide India Limited
• V.P. Gokhale, managing director
• Kishore Kamdar, vice-president
• J. Mukund, works manager
• S.P. Chowdhury, production manager
• K.V. Shetty, plant superintendent
• S.I. Qureshi, production assistant

Updated on Tuesday, March 01, 2011 –
The Supreme Court today issued notices to the Union Carbide Corporation, Dow Chemicals and others on a Centre''s plea seeking enhancement of compensation to the victims of 1984 Bhopal gas tragedy from Rs 750 crore to Rs 7,700 crore.
The apex court also sought replies of Mcleod Russel India, which holds 50.9 per cent share in UCIL, currently known as Eveready Industries Ltd, on a curative petition filed by the Centre against the 1989 judgement and the 1991 judgement.

A five-judge bench headed by Chief Justice S H Kapadia also said it will hear on day-to-day basis from April 13 the Centre''s plea for restoration of the stringent charge of culpable homicide not amounting to murder against the accused and enhancement of compensation for the victims.

"We propose to sit on day-to-day basis from April 13 to hear the criminal matter," the bench, also comprising Justices Altamas Kabir, R V Raveendran, B Sudershan Reddy and Aftab Alam, said.

Reality Views by sm –

Bhopal Disaster -

Bhopal disaster clearly shows that Indian Laws are weak , we need to reform them .

This incident showed that all the Indian political parties are same and only one .

When their own kin is not killed in this incident why to think and worry about this problem .

This shows that Indian media likes the cases and matters in which females are involved.
They will show those matters 24 hours on Television.

Why CBI didn’t file a review petition in the apex court when it amended the charges to incorporate lenient sections of IPC including 304-A (causing death by negligence) from 304-II (culpable homicide not amounting to murder).

Why Warren Anderson was not brought before the Indian Courts?

Why Red Corner Notice Was not issued against the Warren Anderson?

Reform The CBI, Reform Indian Law

Be aware Indians The government of India is going to pass the nuclear liability bill which will guarantee to all the foreign companies that if something happens in Nuclear plant in India the company will pay minimum money as compensation .


sm,  June 09, 2010  

The district collector of Bhopal at the time of the gas tragedy claimed that the state government had actively helped Union Carbide CEO Warren Anderson to escape law.

Ex IAS officer Moti Singh said, “I was summoned by Chief Minister Arjun Singh to his residence at 8 am on December 7, 1984
CM told me that Warren Anderson would be arriving shortly at the airport; however, the airport officials have been instructed to not let his plane land till the district collector is present.”
“I immediately rushed to the airport, but by the time I arrived the plane had landed but its door had not yet been opened. I was told that Anderson was being accompanied by the chief of India operations Keshub Mahindra and managing director Vijay Gokhale.”
Singh said that they were arrested as soon as they set foot in Bhopal. All the three were then taken to the Shyamala Hills guest house of Union Carbide; Anderson was wearing a mask, Singh remembered.
Later the Bhopal Police filed a criminal case them under Section 304 of the IPC.
“Then at 2 pm, Chief Secretary Brahm Swaroop called me and Superintendent of Police Swaraj Puri to his office. He told us that a plane was waiting at the airport for Anderson and asked us to complete the formalities so as to ensure that he flies to Delhi as soon as possible,” Singh claimed.
“We arranged for a Union Carbide employee to secure his bail for a surety of Rs 25000,” Singh revealed.

sm,  June 09, 2010  

Dinah Menil,

Admin June 09, 2010  

Thanks for sharing this detailed insight to one of the most catastrophic incidents that took place in a country like India. The heart goes out to the deceased. Really..no words can describe the agonies and pains of those affected. Its sad to know that even after so many years of the incident still those behind this disaster are moving freely. This guy Andersen should have been sentenced to rigorous imprisonment but he seemed to have escaped with ease. Its pity...yes, laws need to be reformed with the new and stringent ones.

Shabnam Sultan June 09, 2010  

A very detailed report :) we need strict laws.

sm,  June 10, 2010  


sm,  June 10, 2010  

Shabnam Sultan,

Anonymous,  June 10, 2010  

What a Marvelous collection of the catastophic details . hats of to sm.Agree your views SM.But i feel sad to the effected people of bhopal.

Maya June 10, 2010  

my views are a bit different, as always

sm,  June 11, 2010  

Yes I also feel sad about them.

It is reported that when people of Bhopal were dying and crying , our President of India was enjoying cup of tea with Anderson.

sm,  June 11, 2010  

Uncommon Sense,,
I am happy that you got the view.
Every view is important

Piper .. June 11, 2010  

wow! Thanks for a detailed overview! I personally think that the damage was done when the charges were changed from culpable homicide to criminal negligence. Of course, the 2 years punishment is the maximum one can get under a case of negligence. What good will it do to cry over spilt milk now? The whole thing is so outrageous! And Anderson of course continues to have the last laugh! He`s in NYC enjoying a life of luxury now!

sm,  June 12, 2010  

Piper ..,
Yes i agree with you.
But still time has not lost Congress can order the USA to send him to India.
Or no USA nuclear plant will get permission in India.

sm,  June 13, 2010  

Bhopal: The Bhopal Memorial Hospital and Research Centre (BMHRC), a trust headed by former Supreme Court Justice A H Ahmadi is catering to the rich instead of taking care of the victims of the Bhopal gas tragedy.

The hospital has now been served a notice by Bhopal's chief medical officer for refusing admission to a gas victim, who later died.

On the April 20, 2010, when Indu was referred to the Bhopal Memorial Hospital and Research Centre, the duty doctor at BMHRC wrote on her reference slip was this:

"We can't admit the patient right now. Come tomorrow with all the investigations." Two days later, 32-year-old Indu Sharma was dead.

The BMHRC initially set up as a super specialty hospital to take care of the gas victims
Its primary role was to study the long term impact of the deadly MIC gas on the victims
But when you are not admitting victims in the Hospital how will they study?

sm,  June 15, 2010  

The Madhya Pradesh government removed former Director General of Police (DGP) Swaraj Puri, who had played a key role in the release of the former Union Carbide chief Warren Anderson, from the state-run Narmada Valley Development Authority (NVDA).
The former DGP, as a member of the GRA in the NVDA, enjoyed the status of a Minister of State.
Puri, who was the then SP of Bhopal, along with the then Collector Moti Singh released Anderson soon after his arrest following the Bhopal gas disaster

Ria,  June 17, 2010  

wow! Thanks for a detailed overview!

sm,  June 18, 2010  

In 2002, the CBI had filed an application in the court seeking that the charge under section 304 II of IPC (culpable homicide not amounting to murder) against Warren Anderson be changed to section 304 (A) (causing death by negligence).
While 304 II entails a maximum of 10 years imprisonment, 304 provides for two years jail term.

Question is why CBI wanted to change the charge against warren Anderson?

Unknown September 04, 2010  

This is a very informative blog post! It is nice to see the chronological break down of the Bhopal disaster. The Bhopal story is quite long and complex. Your post helps to break it down.I am a PhD student studying the use of social media for historically significant crises like the Bhopal gas leak. I was wondering if I can ask you questions about blogging especially on topics like the Bhopal disaster.

Why did you blog about the Bhopal disaster?
What do you hope people will take away from your blog post?
Do you think you are helping to curate the Bhopal story by filtering the most important information to know about the Bhopal disaster with your blog post?
What value do you think social media like blogs has for contributing to the collective narrative about historical disasters like Bhopal?

Feel free to email me (Sophia.Liu@colorado.edu) your reply if that is better.

sm,  September 04, 2010  

Sophia BLiu,,
I will try to write a article on your questions or may send you mail with answers.
thanks for asking questions.

Unknown September 06, 2010  

One quick I have is how did you compile all this information? Did you look at different reports on the Bhopal tragedy and put it together in this blog post? Is it based on some existing chronological report of Bhopal? It is such an impressive list, I just wonder what type of people are motivated to compile and share this to the public. I've looked at a variety of other reports and yours makes it much more simple and easy to digest. Thanks for that.

Thanks, Sophia

sm,  September 07, 2010  

Sophia BLiu,,
After reading lot of reports and articles what i understood i wrote it down.