Swaraj admitted, “Taking a humanitarian view, I conveyed to the British high commissioner that British Government should examine the request of Lalit Modi as per British rules and regulations. If the British Government chooses to give travel documents to Lalit Modi. That will not spoil our bilateral relations.”
One should not forget that the biggest case of a top politician helping a high profile individual in clandestine travel in independent India has been that of the Congress Government at the Centre and State, jointly facilitating the overnight exit of Warren Anderson from India, after his company Union Carbide’s factory had spewed poisonous MIC and killed thousands on a single night in Bhopal on December 2-3, 1984.
Anderson, the proclaimed offender in the world’s biggest industrial disaster, the Bhopal Gas Tragedy, was not merely allowed to leave, but was regally escorted out of the country by police and senior government officials like an honoured guest. Anderson was also declared a fugitive from justice in 1992 after he failed to appear at the court hearings in a culpable homicide case.
Four days after the disaster, on December 7, 1984, the then Chairman of Union Carbide Corporation, Anderson landed in Bhopal to take stock of the tragedy. He was arrested at the airport and taken to the company's guesthouse. But within hours, he was granted bail and the same police force six hours later escorted Anderson out of the city in a blue government vehicle.
In his interviews to the media, the then Bhopal collector Moti Singh had mentioned that he was asked by the then chief secretary to release Anderson. One would like to know the two key persons, who facilitated Anderson’s exit from India. At the Centre, it was the then Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi and at the state level, it was Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Arjun Singh.
After 25 years, PC Alexander, former principal secretary of the late former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi, finally broke his silence on Warren Anderson's escape from the country. While speaking to an English news channel, he had hinted that Gandhi had taken the decision to let off Anderson. And it was quietly communicated to Arjun Singh.
Now, a vital question: On what humanitarian grounds, Warren Anderson was allowed to leave India?
Was it to honour the negligence of Anderson’s company UCIL, due to which thousands of nameless, faceless, common Indians died on the streets of Bhopal and a multiple number became permanently disabled?
So, the sympathy should have been on whose side – Anderson or those thousands, who died and got disabled?
On the other hand, the case of Lalit Modi is completely different. There are serious charges against him — from being a fugitive to money laundering and financial irregularities. I’m not questioning them nor am I trying to falsify the charges.
I want to point out that none of the charges against Modi are as serious as killing people. The Bhopal Gas Tragedy was genocide. Modi should be punished for his wrong-doings, if charges are established by the court of law. But, why those who let Anderson go, could get their names etched in the political history of India as ‘great politicians’?
I’m a common nameless Indian, with little understanding of the nitty-gritty of politics.
Modi is being investigated in nearly 20 cases by the Enforcement Directorate. He left India in 2010 for London, where he now lives.
Despite that I want to know why the UPA Government allowed Modi to leave India? What about the relationship between Modi and the former UPA minister Shashi Tharoor? Any answer?
After all, people had been enjoying the matches of Modi’s brainchild, the IPL or the Indian Premier League. Will anybody in this country ask why Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Swaraj should resign as demanded by the opposition, whereas Rajiv Gandhi and Arjun Singh were allowed to remain in their respective offices, with ‘dignity’ despite being involved directly in the escape of Warren Anderson?
RIP Gandhi, Singh and Anderson.
(The opinion expressed in this column is solely that of the writer – Nameless Indian)