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CBI arrests absconding Bhopal gas tragedy convict from Nagpur

Bhopal, Feb 19 (IANS) In a major breakthrough in the Bhopal gas tragedy case, the Central Bureau of Investigation on Wednesday said it has arrested a former employee of Union Carbide Bhopal, who was absconding since 2016.

A senior CBI official said the agency sleuths arrested S.I. Quraishi from Maharashtra’s Nagpur on Tuesday, who was convicted by a local court here in connection with the Bhopal gas tragedy case.

The official said Quraishi will be produced in a district court. Qureshi is among three persons who were convicted by a trial court in Bhopal. The CBI official said Qureshi had been absconding since 2016.

Forty tonnes of deadly methyl isocyanate leaked from the Union Carbide pesticide factory and settled over slums in Bhopal on December 3, 1984. A Bhopal court convicted eight people in 2010 to two years each in jail over a gas plant leak that killed thousands of people.

The eight Indians, all former plant employees, were convicted on charges of “death by negligence”. One had already died. The convicted persons have filed an appeal in the court. The central probe agency has also filed an appeal against the court order and requested for enhancement of sentence.

The case is currently at argument on appeals stage. The eight convicted included Keshub Mahindra, the chairman of the Indian arm of the Union Carbide (UCIL); V.P. Gokhale, managing director; Kishore Kamdar, vice-president; J. Mukund, works manager; S.P. Chowdhury, production manager; K.V. Shetty, plant superintendent and Qureshi, production assistant.

All of them are Indians.

A CBI official said the court had issued non-bailable warrant (NBW) against Qureshi. Initially the Madhya Pradesh Police tried to execute the NBW, but could not execute the same following which the CBI was asked to find out Qureshi and his family members.

The CBI had taken over the Bhopal gas tragedy case on December 12, 1984.

–IANS

aks/prs

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