ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Bhopal Disaster and Union of India

With a Parent Like This

The story of "Bhopal" - of the 30 years of disaster - is not that of corporate crime alone but also that of the nexus between national governments and transnational corporations; of state and capital. And, irrespective of the government in power, the nature of the state has not changed.

This December marks the 30th anniversary of the Bhopal gas leak disaster, infamously known as the biggest chemical disaster in the world, in which more than 40 tonnes of a mixture of poisonous gases spewed out of the pesticide plant of Union Carbide India Limited (UCIL), the Indian subsidiary of the US transnational Union Carbide Corporation (UCC) in Bhopal on the night of 2-3 December 1984. This year is also significant in that Warren Anderson, the chairman of UCC at the time of the disaster, died on 29 September, with a permanent epithet – that of an absconder and a fugitive from Indian justice. On 7 December, four days after the disaster, when Warren Anderson had arrived in Bhopal, he was arrested by the local police (the charges were culpable homicide not amounting to murder, grievous assault, and the killing and poisoning of human beings and animals), put under “house arrest” for a few hours in the UCIL guest house atop the Shamla Hills, Bhopal, granted bail by the local court against a personal bond of Rs 25,000, and transported the same day by a state aircraft to New Delhi and then off to the US, never to return to stand trial as per his bond commitment.

The Face of Corporate Crime

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